October 28 (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Thursday unveiled new steps towards building offshore wind farms in waters off the coasts of Massachusetts, the Carolinas and the Gulf of Mexico.
The announcement is the latest in an aggressive government campaign to expand the nascent ocean industry to every US coast in a bid to wean the electricity sector from fossil fuels and tackle climate change.
To date, most of the US offshore wind development has taken place in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the northeastern states. But the administration is eager to implement projects in other regions, including the South Atlantic and West coasts.
In a statement, the Home Office said it would offer an offshore wind power auction in an area of 127,865 acres off the coast of the Carolinas. The area could be divided into three leases and has the potential for enough energy to power more than half a million homes.
The public will be able to comment on the proposal for 60 days. The U.S. Office of Ocean Energy Management, a division of the interior, could close a sale early next year.
The agency also said it would invite the public to weigh in on the potential for wind power development in a 30 million acre area of the Gulf of Mexico. The area stretches just west of the Mississippi River to the Texas-Mexico border.
The move is an initial effort to consider offshore wind power in the Gulf, home to the country’s largest offshore oil and gas drilling industry. Before deciding whether or not to lease in the Gulf, BOEM should conduct an environmental review and seek input from the public and a government task force set up to review offshore wind in the region.
Finally, the administration said it would launch an environmental review for a project off the coast of Massachusetts, Mayflower Wind. The wind farm will have up to 147 wind turbines with the potential to power 800,000 homes.
Mayflower Wind is a joint venture between Shell New Energies US LLC and Ocean Winds, a joint venture between EDP Renewables and ENGIE.
Reporting by Nichola Groom Editing by Chizu Nomiyama
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