Ahead of BOEM’s first lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, the US Business Network for Offshore Wind has published a new report examining the potential for offshore wind in the region.
The auction on 29 August will include three lease areas covering a total of over 300,000 acres: one area off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and two others off the coast of Galveston, Texas.
Together, these areas have the capacity to generate up to 3700MW of offshore wind power that will further boost the US’s goal of 30GW by 2030.
Unlocking the Gulf of Mexico’s Offshore Wind Energy Potential highlights how the region’s history of innovation, robust offshore oil and gas experience, and strong supply chain has the potential to catapult offshore wind growth in the area.
It also addresses the key hurdles, such as how the industry will need to develop technology that can maximize power output from an environment with lower average wind speeds than the East Coast coupled with seasonal hurricane activity, which must be overcome for the region to be successful.
The report also breaks down the offshore wind development process and highlights Gulf-based companies that have already been participating in the industry — despite the lack of projects in Gulf waters to this point.
More than one in five offshore wind contracts identified by the Network’s Market Dashboard have gone to companies based in the Gulf of Mexico, demonstrating the region’s strong expertise.
John Begala, vice president for federal and state policy at the Business Network for Offshore Wind, said: “The Gulf of Mexico is uniquely prepared for the offshore wind industry with decades of offshore energy experience already under its belt.
“Yes, the region has hurdles to overcome, including the creation of a regulatory framework for power offtake and the need to maximise generation in a lower wind speed environment.
“However, as has been the case for more than 70 years, the creative solutions developed here will impact the global offshore wind market.”