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Gulf of Mexico, BOEM update.

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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

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Gulf of Mexico, BOEM update.

boem

 

Remarkable global interest in the articles shared during the summer of 2020: Gulf-mexico-leasing-round-offshore-wind and June 2021: Boem-gulf-mexico-intergovernmental-renewable-energy-task; so I thought the community may welcome an update.

Today's session started with a tribal incantation and referenced the Biden administration’s 30GW of offshore wind by 2030.

Progress has been made and I was struck during today's BOEM task force meeting at a range of developments encompassing the integration of oil and gas assets, supply chain mapping and zonal bathymetry. with water depths of up to 400 metres.

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What's New? 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) Task Force is a partnership between federal, state, and local agencies and Tribal governments tasked with coordinating renewable energy planning activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the Gulf of Mexico. It serves as a forum to discuss stakeholder issues, exchange data and information about ocean use and resources, and facilitate collaboration opportunities.

BOEM hosted four, sector-specific Gulf of Mexico Fisheries workshops January 19-20, 2022.

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BOEM announced on January 11, 2022, news that a draft environmental assessment (EA) to consider potential offshore wind leasing in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The agency is seeking public input concerning the development of offshore wind in these same areas in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The draft EA, which will be completed this summer, will consider potential environmental consequences of site characterization activities (i.e., biological, archaeological and geological, as well as geophysical surveys and core samples) and site assessment activities (i.e., installation of meteorological buoys) associated with the possibility of issuing wind energy leases in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico.

BOEM's renewable energy leases only grant the exclusive right to submit plans for BOEM's consideration. Once a lease is obtained, a lessee may submit a Site Assessment Plan (SAP) describing how the lessee will conduct resource assessment activities, such as the installation of meteorological towers or buoys, and technology testing during the site assessment phase of the commercial lease. 

Approval of a plan authorizing the construction of an OCS renewable energy project in the Gulf of Mexico would be subject to a detailed environmental analysis. 

Some companies are looking outwith specified areas and a special process allows such unsolicited proposals to be assessed.

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Public Engagement 

BOEM does not consider anonymous comments. Please include your name and address as part of your submittal. All comments submitted will be made part of the public record and will be posted publicly without change. Comments must be sent by or postmarked no later than 11:59 PM on Feb. 9th, 2022. 

Today's session encompassed a number of stakeholder breakout sessions and they were reported back during the session. A lively question and answer session enabled members of the public to share their thoughts with both BOEM and the assembled panel of experts.

Cooperating Agencies 

BOEM invites other federal agencies and Tribes to consider becoming cooperating agencies in the preparation of this EA.  

 

Environmental Science

The analysis covered in the EA will ONLY be for issuing leases and the site assessment and characterization activities. Examples of these activities include  

Installation of meteorological (met) buoys or towers  

There will be additional opportunities for engagement and consultation at these later steps 

The EA may be used for more than one lease auction; however, the analysis will be for a single auction.  This is similar to BOEM’s conventional energy National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis. 

The leasing path, laid out in the table below, shows the Gulf Of Mexico region at an advanced stage:

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With a Baton Rouge announcement of significant target Louisiana-sets-5-gw-offshore, legal intervention halting gulf drilling-leases the opportunity to transition for cities such as Houston is all too evident. The United States is engaged with offshore wind - and a full throttle!

Stay informed through me and over 2200 stakeholders at the Offshore Wind and Hydrogen  Professionals Group.

 

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