On July 20, 2022, the Department of the Interior announced that it was seeking public comments on two draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) in the Gulf of Mexico. The first draft WEA is located approximately 24 nautical miles (nm) off the coast of Galveston, TX, covers a total of 546,645 acres and has the potential to power 2.3 million homes with clean wind energy. The second draft WEA is located approximately 56 nm off the coast of Lake Charles, LA, covers a total of 188,023 acres and has the potential to power 799,000 homes.
The two draft WEAs represent a small subset of the original 30-million acre Gulf of Mexico Call Area that the Department of the Interior announced for public comment in October 2021. The total of both areas was reduced from 30 million acres to 734,688 acres to avoid potential impacts to commercial and recreational fishing, maritime navigation, military activities, marine protected species, avian species, existing infrastructure and other ocean uses and resources. Seeking stakeholder comment on these areas while developing draft WEAs is not required under BOEM regulations, however, BOEM believes that gathering input specific to these areas will result in a more transparent and inclusive Area Identification process.
As BOEM continues to study these areas it will consider input from other government agencies, industry, the fishing community and the general public. BOEM will use this information to finalize the WEAs and publish an Area ID memorandum. The public comment period ended on September 2, 2022.