On October 31, 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) within the US Department of the Interior finalized two Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf.
Reduced Acreage of Final WEAs
The final two WEAs have been slightly reduced in acreage since proposed.
- The first WEA is located approximately 24 nautical miles (nm) off the coast of Galveston, TX. Instead of totaling 546,645 acres as proposed, it was finalized at 508,265 acres.
- The second WEA is located approximately 56 nm off the coast of Lake Charles, LA. Instead of totaling 188,023 acres as proposed, it was finalized at 174,275 acres.
BOEM removed acreage from the WEAs to address concerns expressed by the shrimping industry and the Department of the Defense and the US Coast Guard regarding shipping, marine navigation, and military operations.
The two WEAs represent only a portion of the original 30 million-acre Gulf of Mexico call area. (See our October 29, 2021, Legal Update “Interior Department: Three Milestones for Offshore Wind Energy Development in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.”)
Figure: BOEM Map of Gulf of Mexico final WEAs. See Gulf of Mexico Activities | Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (boem.gov).
Next, BOEM will issue a Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) for a 60-day comment period later this year or early next. The PSN will identify, among other things, the proposed areas to offer for lease in the WEAs, auction format, and qualified bidders so far.