The first ever lease sale for offshore wind production in the Gulf of Mexico was met with modest interest on Tuesday, but could nevertheless be an inflection point for the clean energy transition in a region ravaged by the fossil fuel industry and the impacts of climate change. German firm RWE beat out one other bidder for a lease tract off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana, with the potential to generate 1.24 gigawatts of electricity — enough to power 435,000 homes.
It It was the only one of three lease tracts receiving bids. Offshore wind development in the Gulf is hampered by, among other things, more than 18,000 miles of abandoned oil and gas pipelines that inhibit the installation of transmission cables to and from offshore wind sites. It also represents a significant opportunity for offshore oil and gas workers (many of whom have been recently laid off) to apply transferable skills to the clean energy sector.
“Today’s auction results show the important role state public policy plays in offshore wind market development,” said Luke Jeanfreau of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “Gulf expertise in offshore construction is unparalleled, and their innovative solutions will continue to drive the U.S. and global offshore wind industry forward.” (AP, The Guardian, Canary Media, Heatmap $, Houston Chronicle, Reuters, Heatmap $, Louisiana Illuminator, New York Times $, offshoreWIND.biz, Politico Pro $, Bloomberg $, NOLA.com, UPI, MarketWatch, offshoreWIND.biz, OilPrice, Renewables Now, NJ.com, Reuters, Washington Examiner)