NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Biden administration on Friday designated four tracts of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico off the Texas and Louisiana coasts for development of wind energy.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announcement follows the first Gulf sale of leases for wind development earlier this year. That sale drew a $5.6 million bid from one company for one Gulf tract — a modest start for wind energy in the Gulf, which lags behind the Northeast in offshore wind power development.
The agency said its next step will be to issue a formal notice for a proposed lease sale, which will be followed by a 60-day public comment period.
“BOEM will continue to work with the Tribes, other government partners, coastal states, ocean users, and local communities as we advance our work in a manner that seeks to responsibly develop offshore areas while minimizing potential conflicts with other ocean uses and marine life in the Gulf of Mexico,” the agency’s director, Elizabeth Klein, said in a news release.
The affects of offshore wind power development on marine life have been a concern on the East Coast, where opposition has been driven partly by concerns over whether it will harm whales and other species.
Here are some details about the newly designated areas, according to the BOEM:
— 495,567 acres (200,549 hectares) about 47 miles (76 kilometers) off the coast of Texas that could support wind power generation for 2.1 million homes.
— 119,635 acres (48,415 hectares) about 61 miles (98 kilometers) off the coast of Texas, that could support wind power for 508,200 homes.
— 91,157 acres (36,890 hectares) about 53 miles (85 kilometers) off the coast of Texas, that could support wind power for 387,450 homes.
— 56,978 acres (23,058 hectares) about 82 miles (132 kilometers) off the coast of Louisiana that could support wind power for 242,000 homes.
This story was updated to correct that the tracts were designated Friday, not Thursday.