Biden administration holds first-ever Gulf of Mexico offshore wind energy auction
WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today held the first-ever offshore wind energy auction for the Gulf of Mexico region, resulting in one lease area receiving a high bid of $5.6 million. RWE Offshore US Gulf, LLC, was the winner of the Lake Charles Lease Area, which has the potential to generate approximately 1.24 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity and power nearly 435,400 homes.
“I am proud of the hard work being done by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and across the Interior Department…,” said Secretary Deb Haaland.
“Today’s lease sale represents an important milestone for the Gulf of Mexico region, and for our nation…,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Elizabeth Klein. “The Lake Charles Lease Area will have the potential to generate enough electricity to power about 435,400 homes and create hundreds of jobs.”
The Department has approved the nation's first four commercial-scale offshore wind projects, held four offshore wind lease auctions—including a record-breaking sale offshore New York—and the first-ever sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf Coasts, initiated environmental review of 10 offshore wind projects, and advanced the process to explore additional Wind Energy Areas in Oregon, Gulf of Maine and Central Atlantic.
BOEM’s lease sale offered two areas offshore Galveston, Texas, one comprising 102,480 acres and the other 96,786 acres, and a third area, 102,480 acres, offshore Lake Charles, La. The two Galveston lease areas offered today did not receive bids.
RWE Offshore US Gulf, LLC earned the following bidding credits:
- A credit equal to 20% of the cash bid to bidders who commit to supporting workforce training programs and developing a domestic supply chain for the offshore wind energy industry.
- A credit equal to 10% of the cash bid to bidders for establishing and contributing to a fisheries compensatory mitigation fund or contributing to an existing fund to mitigate potential negative impacts to commercial and for-hire recreational fisheries caused by offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Mexico.
- These bidding credits will result in over $860,000 in investments for workforce training and a domestic supply chain, and another more than $430,000 for fisheries compensatory mitigation.
BOEM is committed to workforce development and safety and to the establishment of a durable domestic supply chain that can sustain the U.S. offshore wind energy industry. As such, BOEM included two lease stipulations, one that encourages project labor agreements and construction efficiency and the other that contributes toward establishing a domestic supply chain.
In addition, the lessee is required to engage with Tribes, ocean users and local communities that may be affected by lease activities. The engagement activities must be routinely reported to BOEM. The purpose of such engagement is to promote offshore wind energy development in a way that coexists with other ocean uses, addresses potential impacts and benefits, and protects the ocean environment, while also facilitating the nation’s energy future.