Seeing little interest from Texas, feds shift offshore wind energy focus to Louisiana


Federal regulators are trying to shift interest toward Louisiana after the Gulf of Mexico’s first-ever offshore wind lease auction drew zero bids for sites in the waters off Texas last year, Verite reports.

Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management proposed two new lease areas, totaling about 200,000 acres, in federal waters south of the Texas-Louisiana line, an area that may strike a balance between the stronger winds near Texas and the more welcoming politics of Louisiana.

“Texas leaders said some inflammatory things about offshore wind right before the last lease sale,” says Jenny Netherton, a program manager for the Southeastern Wind Coalition. “That strongly suggested to some investors that Texas wasn’t the best bet.”

The Texas lease area, which covers 200,000 acres near Galveston, failed to attract a single bid from developers during the late August auction despite having what experts believe is the best conditions for development. Interest in a 100,000-acre lease area near southwest Louisiana was also low, but it at least drew two bids. The winning bidder, German wind energy developer RWE, is now planning a wind farm about 40 miles south of Lake Charles.

The current lease sale, if fully developed, could generate enough power for 1.2 million homes, according to federal estimates.

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