An environmental finding of no significant impact has been issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). This will thereby bring the offshore wind energy resources development across the Gulf of Mexico much closer to reality.
It is well worth noting that the BOEM went on to prepare an environmental assessment of the probable effects of issuing almost 18 commercial as well as research wind leases and also easements that are potential and usage rights as well as easements concerned with every lease and also grants in the case of subsea cable corridors as well as associated offshore convertor and collector platforms.
Apparently, the easements will be located on the outer continental shelf areas across the Mexican Gulf, extending from the BOEM’s lease call area to the state waters and to the onshore energy grid.
Significantly, the BOEM environmental report has gone on to declare off-limits areas located across the boundaries of any unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Park System, or a National Monument. It also went on to exclude a handful of blocks that happened to include unique topographic traits. In February this year, the Department of the Interior proposed what it said would go on to be the first ever offshore wind lease sale that would take place in the Gulf of Mexico.
The proposed notice of sale had in it a 102,480-acre area of offshore Lake Charles in Louisiana as well as a couple of areas of offshore Galveston in Texas, one of which consisted of 102,480 acres and the other of 96,786 acres. The action witnessed here happened to be a part of the 2021 strategy so as to meet a Biden administration objective of rolling out 30 GW of offshore wind energy capacity by the decade’s end.
It is well to be noted that since 2021, the department has gone on to hold three offshore wind lease auctions, which include a sale offshore New York and the first ever sale offshore the Pacific Coast across California. The department has further gone on to initiate the environmental reviews of 10 offshore wind projects and has advanced the process so as to discover additional wind energy areas across the Central Atlantic, the Gulf of Maine, and Oregon.
The Department of Energy has stated that two-thirds of US offshore wind resources happen to be located in deep-water areas that need floating platforms. It has set itself the goal of reducing the cost of floating offshore wind energy by 70%+ by 2035.