The first-ever offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico concluded in a speedy manner with one lease area getting a high bid of USD 5.6 million (EUR 5.14m) and no proposals at all for the other two areas, the US government said on Tuesday.
After just two rounds, the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that RWE Offshore US Gulf LLC had ended up being the winner of the 102,480-acre Lake Charles Lease Area off Louisiana, with a bid of the aforementioned amount. The other two lease areas on offer, both off the coast of Galveston in Texas, received no bids and remained unawarded.
According to BOEM, the awarded lease area has the potential to generate about 1.24 GW of offshore wind energy capacity, though, RWE said separately that it has the potential to host up to 2 GW of fixed-bottom turbines.
The German company had only one competitor in the first round. The sum to be paid by RWE for the Lake Charles lease is far below the record-breaking bids that were lodged in last year’s New York Bight offshore wind auction, which drew successful proposals from six companies totalling USD 4.37 billion. RWE was one of those six companies, having made a USD-1.1-billion bid for the largest area on offer.
The site in the Gulf of Mexico is located 44 miles off the coast of Louisiana and has water depths of 10-25 metres. RWE is hoping to complete a project there by the mid-2030s.
In addition to the seabed awards in the Gulf of Mexico and the New York Bight, RWE is developing one of the first commercial-scale floating wind projects off California, with a potential installed capacity of 1.6 GW. Overall, the German company’s US offshore wind development portfolio amounts to 5.9 GW, it said.
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.918)