US Announces First Ever Offshore Wind Lease Sale in the Gulf of Mexico
The auction is open to 16 qualified companies identified by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
The U.S. Department of the Interior is set to conduct the first-ever offshore wind energy lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. The move aims to accelerate the deployment of 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, paving the way for a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035.
The upcoming lease auction, scheduled for August 29, 2023, will offer three key lease areas with significant potential.
The first area, Lease Lake Charles, encompasses 102,480 acres, with a minimum bid of $5.12 million. The second area, Galveston I, covers 102,480 acres, with a minimum bid of $5.12 million. Lastly, Galveston II, spanning 96,786 acres, holds a minimum bid of $4.83 million.
The lease areas present opportunities to generate approximately 3.7 GW of clean and renewable energy, capable of powering nearly 1.3 million homes.
To participate in the auction, each bidder must submit a bid deposit of $2 million per lease area no later than August 13, 2023. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will retain the bid deposit of any provisionally winning bidder who fails to return the signed lease form in time, establish financial assurance, or pay the balance of its bid.
The minimum bid is the lowest dollar amount per acre that BOEM will accept as a winning bid and is the amount at which it will start the bidding in the auction.
The bureau has established a minimum bid of $50 /acre for this lease auction and issued a list of identified eligible companies.
The eligible bidders are 547 Energy, Avangrid Renewables, Coastal Offshore Renewable Energy, energyRe Offshore Wind Holdings, Equinor Wind US, Gulf Coast Offshore Wind, Gulf Wind Offshore, Hanwha Offshore North America, Hanwha Q CELLS USA Corp, Hecate Energy, Invenergy GOM Offshore Wind, RWE Offshore US Gulf, Shell New Energies US, TotalEnergies Renewables USA, and US Mainstream Renewable Power.
“The Gulf of Mexico is poised to play a key role in our nation’s transition to a clean energy future,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Director Elizabeth Klein. “Today’s announcement follows years of engagement with government agencies, states, ocean users, and stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico region. We look forward to continued collaboration in the years to come.”
In March, the U.S. Department of Energy released its Offshore Wind Energy Strategy, which targets deploying 30 GW of offshore wind projects by 2030 while spurring $12 billion per year in direct private investment.
According to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the country needs to deploy 70–150 GW of wind energy and 40–90 GW of solar every year until 2030 to decarbonize America’s power sector by 2035.