Greater New Orleans, Inc. and GNOwind Alliance applaud another key milestone reached today with the announcement of the Final Sale Notice (FSN), and August 29th auction date, as the Department of the Interior advances the first-ever offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. The announcement advances Louisiana’s emergence as a national hub for both offshore wind manufacturing and implementation.
Over the past three years, Louisiana companies have gained valuable expertise along the east coast, for example helping to build the Block Island Wind Farm. These new leases in the Gulf of Mexico will bring offshore wind activity closer to home, with each 600-megawatt offshore wind expected to create 470 jobs during construction, and 250 jobs during long-term operations. Furthermore, each farm will yield $445 million in capital investment during construction, and $14 million in operational costs annually. This gulf activity will leverage the state’s ranking of the fourth highest potential in offshore wind, as cited by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
“After years of planning, this announcement officially identifies Louisiana as a hub for offshore wind activity,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “The 250+ members of our GNOwind Alliance have been involved in this process every step of the way, sharing insights and enthusiasm for a balanced, clean energy, pro-job future. Louisiana is poised to be the future-energy nexus for America.”
Today’s announcement was made possible by years of comprehensive engagement from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) with other government agencies, ocean users and stakeholders, indigenous tribes, and industry representatives – ensuring offshore wind leasing in the Gulf of Mexico is led by local communities. The GNOwind Alliance, a group of over 250 companies and organizations with a shared vision for working together to harness South Louisiana’s potential as an offshore wind hub, has been heavily involved in these stakeholder engagement opportunities, and appreciates the comprehensive approach undertaken in this process.
The FSN includes a 102,480-acre area offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana, as well as two areas offshore Galveston, Texas, one comprising 102,480 acres and the other comprising 96,786 acres. Although BOEM originally planned offer one of the Galveston-adjacent lease areas, this FSN confirms that all three will be brought to auction. This is great news for a new market seeking to catch up to the rapidly growing pipeline of East Coast projects. With existing turbine technologies, these areas have the potential to power almost 1.3 million homes with clean energy, or direct the equivalent capacity towards Power-to-x solutions such as green hydrogen, which may be a more optimal decarbonization pathway for markets like Louisiana.
BOEM has also provided several lease stipulations that reaffirm its commitment to create high-wage jobs and engage with ocean users and other stakeholders. Some of these stipulations include a credit system that incentivizes developers to commit to supporting workforce training programs for the offshore wind industry, agree to developing a domestic supply chain for the offshore wind industry, or a combination of both.
The FSN will be published in the Federal Register later this week and will include further specifics on the August 29th auction the Department has decided to proceed with. To join future GNOwind meetings and stay in touch with offshore wind in Louisiana at no cost, visit GNOwind.org.