Statement: Department of the Interior launches analysis of wind power generation off California, Gulf Coast
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced Tuesday that it is moving forward with environmental assessments (EA) of two coastal areas to evaluate the effects of hosting offshore wind activities. The agency released the draft EA for the Humboldt Wind Energy Area off the northern California coast. This 206 square-mile area could generate 1.6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy and power 560,000 homes. BOEM also stated its intent to prepare a draft EA for almost 30 million acres of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
The public now has 30 days to officially comment on the adequacy of the Humboldt EA. BOEM also welcomes comments on the Gulf of Mexico possibilities as it prepares to draft that EA. The assessments will help BOEM determine how offshore wind leasing activities (such as geological surveys or buoy installations) could impact these marine areas. This will help the agency to decide which areas are best suited to leasing and how to minimize environmental disruption.
New wind power installations in these two locations would help the Biden Administration achieve its goals of deploying 30GW of offshore wind in the United States by 2030, and granting seven new offshore wind leases by 2025.
In response, Environment America Research and Policy Center’s Federal Clean Energy Associate Hannah Read released the following statement:
“The United States’ abundant offshore wind potential isn’t limited to the Eastern Seaboard and it’s exciting to see offshore wind making progress on America’s southern and western coasts. Tuesday’s announcement lays the groundwork for a successful offshore wind leasing process in the Gulf of Mexico and off the California coast, and makes meaningful progress towards realizing the Biden Administration’s visionary goals.
“The Gulf region has more than enough offshore wind potential to power its current and future energy needs, even in a scenario where buildings, transportation and industry go all-electric by 2050.
“These announcements are the first official steps to bringing clean, renewable energy onshore to every corner of the U.S. We have immense offshore wind potential and it’s high time we start harnessing it and ending our dependence on dirty energy sources that pollute our air, causing tens of thousands of people to die prematurely each year.
“In 2022, offshore wind is still a largely untapped resource. This announcement is an encouraging sign of what I hope will be the most ambitious year for offshore wind in American history.”