The Biden administration’s Department of the Interior yesterday announced new actions to build offshore wind farms in the Atlantic, off the coasts of Massachusetts and the Carolinas, and in the Gulf of Mexico.

This latest action is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030 in order to address the climate crisis.

Carolinas

The Department of the Interior is proposing an offshore wind auction in a 127,865-acre area off the coast of the Carolinas. The area could be divided into three leases. It has the potential to unlock more than 1.5 GW of offshore wind energy that could power more than a half-million homes.

[The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management] BOEM will publish a Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) in the Federal Register on Nov. 1, 2021, which will kick off a 60-day comment period ending on 11:59 p.m. ET on Jan. 3, 2022.

Any prospective bidders wishing to participate in a Carolina Long Bay lease sale must submit qualification materials postmarked no later than Jan. 3, 2022. BOEM will host an auction seminar to discuss the auction format for prospective bidders.

Mayflower Wind off Massachusetts

The administration will kick off an environmental review in November for Mayflower Wind, off the coast of Massachusetts, around 30 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The wind farm will operate up to 147 turbines and up to five offshore power substations. It will be able to generate more than 2 gigawatts of power, which is enough to power more than 800,000 homes. It will create 14,000 jobs over the project’s lifetime.

Mayflower Wind is a joint venture between Ocean Winds and Shell New Energies US LLC, and a joint venture between EDP Renewables and ENGIE.

Read more: First major US offshore wind farm approved today

Gulf of Mexico

From November 1 for 45 days, BOEM is inviting the public to weigh in on possible commercial wind energy leasing in a proposed area in the Gulf of Mexico. The area consists of almost 30 million acres just west of the Mississippi River to the Texas-Mexico border. Reuters explains:

The move is an early-stage effort to consider offshore wind in the Gulf, which is home to the nation’s biggest offshore oil and gas drilling industry. Before deciding on whether to lease in the Gulf, BOEM would have to conduct an environmental review and seek input from the public and a government task force set up to consider offshore wind in the region.

Electrek’s Take

We at Electrek think these steps forward by the US government to grow US offshore wind are super exciting. It’s doable, and we’re optimistic this is going to happen, but it will likely be a bumpy (boat) ride.

There will be the expected NIMBY and fishing industry objections in all regions. Indeed, Mayflower has had plenty of that already from Martha’s Vineyard residents. And the Gulf of Mexico is going to get very interesting, seeing how the fossil-fuel industry has been drilling there since the mid-20th century.

The thought of more wind power, and thus clean energy, and less oil spillage, like the mess that occurred as the result of Hurricane Ida in September – or how about no oil spills one day? – is a compelling prospect indeed.

Photo: Ørsted

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About the Author

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.