The winds of change in the Gulf of Mexico
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A sign of the times: the Gulf of Mexico in the United States could soon be the scene not only of oil production platforms, but also wind power turbines. The U.S. Department of the Interior announced it was examining options for developing wind power in the Gulf.

The U.S. government has also announced that by 2030 installed capacity of shelf-based wind generation would total 30 GW. For the moment, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has started accepting preliminary applications from companies to develop wind renewable energy resources off the coasts of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

    After the applications and expressions of interest from market participants are collected and examined, a time frame and conditions can be set for possible tenders.

    The government believes that the Gulf of Mexico, which already accounts for a significant share of the country’s oil production, could be given every opportunity to make a transition to renewable energy sources. And it could be the oil industry itself that becomes the leader of the transition as many companies have already made commitments to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.

    To date, the BOEM has leased approximately 1.7 million acres in the Gulf’s outer continental shelf (OCS) for offshore wind development and has 17 commercial leases on the Atlantic.

   In May, a project by Vineyard Wind, with a capacity of 800 MW, was approved off the coast of Massachusetts – the first commercial-scale offshore wind power project in the country.

    The government had earlier announced a proposed sale for offshore wind development with a total capacity exceeding 7 GW in eight sectors of shallow waters of the OCS off the coast of New York and New Jersey. The total area of the development between Long Island and the New Jersey coast would exceed 250,000 hectares.    The project would involve the creation of a hub of offshore wind generators able to provide power for more than 2.6 million homes.

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