The Gulf of Mexico’s first offshore wind farms will be developed off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, the Biden administration announced last week, and together they’re projected to produce enough energy to power around 3 million homes, reports The Texas Tribune.
The wind farms likely will not be up and running for years, energy analysts and the state’s grid operator said, but the announcement from the U.S. Interior Department is the first step in ramping up offshore wind energy in the U.S., which has lagged behind that of Europe and China. The only two operating offshore wind energy farms in the U.S. are off Rhode Island and Virginia, which together produce 42 megawatts of electricity—which would power fewer than 2,500 homes.
One of the new wind projects announced last week will be developed 24 nautical miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas, covering 546,645 acres — bigger than the city of Houston — with the potential to power 2.3 million homes, according to the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The other project will be developed near Port Arthur, about 56 nautical miles off Lake Charles, covering 188,023 acres with the potential to power 799,000 homes.
The wind farms will join a growing number of oil drilling rigs in the Gulf. The Biden administration also recently opened up land in the Gulf of Mexico for more offshore oil and gas drilling leases.
“The commercial appetite is there—it really is about the regulatory hurdles that exist,” says Kenneth B. Medlock III, an energy expert at Rice University. “There’s a lot of interest, without a doubt. Companies are actively lobbying to try to get these projects done.” Read the full story here.