Interior Department holds offshore wind energy auction for Gulf

Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland gives remarks at the annual Remembrance Ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial on September 11, 2022, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. She responded to an offshore wind energy auction on Tuesday. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The Department of the Interior held the first offshore wind energy auction for the Gulf of Mexico region Tuesday, leading to one lease area receiving a high bid of $5.6 million.

RWE Offshore US Gulf LLC won the Lake Charles Lease Area, which has the potential to generate about 1.24 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity. That has the potential of powering 435,400 homes with renewable energy, the department said.

"The Biden-Harris administration is making once-in-a-generation investments in America's infrastructure and our clean energy future as we take steps to bring offshore wind energy to additional areas around the country," Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.

"I am proud of the hard work being done by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and across the Interior Department to deliver on our promises to advance a clean energy economy that will lower energy costs for families and create good-paying jobs as we help tackle the climate crisis."

RWE is one of the world's leading offshore wind companies and is active from project conception and development to construction, operation and maintenance. It operates 19 offshore wind farms globally, according to its website.

"Today's lease sale represents an important milestone for the Gulf of Mexico region -- and for our nation -- to transition to a clean energy future," Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Elizabeth Klein said. "The Lake Charles Lease Area will have the potential to generate enough electricity to power about 435,400 homes and create hundreds of jobs."

The Interior Department has held four other offshore wind lease auctions, including a record-breaking sale offshore New York, along with initiating environmental reviews of 10 offshore wind projects.

The Department has also taken steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive toward union-built projects and a domestic supply chain.