Two years ago I was instrumental in creating something of a media storm around future plans for the Gulf Of Mexico, some of the trade press requested, and received, sources for such dramatic assertions.
One unintended consequence has led to a deepening re-acquaintance with BOEM, with who I enjoyed a week sharing ‘lessons learned’ as far back as 2016.
So, it’s much less contentious to be able to share my assessment with the community on he third BOEM Gulf of Mexico Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force session.
Indeed significant progress is reported in the latest round of Gulf of Mexico engagements sessions with BOEM with the Washington-based organisation representing something of an amalgam of the UK’s planning inspectorate and Crown estate all rolled into one.
The third Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) Gulf of Mexico Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting.
The agency takes a large holistic approach in starting big and then refining down on the basis of stakeholder feedback. Two front runners will go to auction early in 2023
These two sites lie off Galveston, and off Lake Charles both big oil and gas value chain areas by the Gulf The first draft WEA is located approximately 24 nautical miles (nm) off the coast of Galveston, covers a total of 546,645 acres and the second draft WEA is located approximately 56 nm off the coast of Lake Charles, covers a total of 188,023 acres.
Over 18 developers expressed and interest over 14 areas which through a process of refinement were whittled down to two to focus on
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.
• Overall purpose: Facilitate coordination and consultation among federal, state, local, and tribal governments regarding offshore wind energy and the renewable energy leasing process on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the GOM.
• Seeking feedback from the Task Force members on the Draft GOM Renewable Energy Draft Environmental Assessment.
• Seeking feedback from the Task Force members on the two Preliminary Wind Energy Areas in the GOM.
• Provide opportunities for public input on the topics being considered by the Task Force
I jotted a few key points:
- Existing oil and gas infrastructure is helpful with skillsets highly relevant to the energy transition and in particular offshore wind.
- Sea depths are up to 400 metres meaning all forms of floating technology can be considered for the Gulf of Mexico
- Hurricane proof technologies are necessary but making good progress
- Community benefits are being considered
- Hydrogen is being integrated from the outset
BOEM is demonstrating remarkable thoroughness in its engagement process and using technology effectively to win offer sometimes previously sceptical stakeholders.
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