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The Texas Energy Industry has long been thought of as an industry rooted in oil and gas development, however, Texas is also the nation’s leading wind power producer.  With many companies pivoting to include renewable and alternative energy in their asset portfolios, it’s no surprise that wind energy investment is growing. The Gulf Coast of Texas is also ripe for offshore wind development. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently released studies showing that the Gulf Coast of Texas is uniquely suited for offshore wind energy development.  In its latest study, it identified several locations well suited for offshore wind development, including this Port Isabel location in Texas, which is made up of 16 lease blocks, with an average wind speed of 9.04 m/s (20.2 mph).

In order to acquire an offshore wind commercial lease, documentation must be provided to prove that the person or entity holding the renewable energy lease is a Eligible Person as defined in 30 CFR 585.112; and that that person or entity has the technical and financial capability to develop the proposed project. The process to acquire and construct an offshore wind farm can take 10 years or more and is comprised of the following categories: (1) Planning & Analysis, (2) Leasing, (3) Site Assessment, and (4) Construction & Operations.

Though the process is involved and lengthy, it provides an opportunity to those with the technical expertise to pioneer US offshore wind energy development and help shape the framework of the nation’s energy sector for decades to come.


Authors

Lauren K. King

John M. Byrom

Sources

Press Release, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), March 7, 2019, https://www.awea.org/resources/news/2019/the-largest-wind-energy-conference-in-the-western (last visited July 20, 2020).

Musial W., Beiter P., Stefek J., Scott G., Heimiller D., Stehly T., Tegen S., Roberts O., Greco T., Keyser D. (February 2020). Offshore Wind in the US Gulf of Mexico: Regional Economic Modeling and Site-Specific Analyses (OCS Study, BOEM 2020-0108), U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, prepared by National Renewable Energy Laboratory, https://espis.boem.gov/final%20reports/BOEM_2020-018.pdf.

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, (September 12, 2012), Qualification Guidelines to Acquire and Hold Renewable Energy Leases and Grants and Alternate Use Grants on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, https://www.boem.gov/sites/default/files/renewable-energy-program/Regulatory-Information/QualificationGuidelines.pdf.

Image Source: Regulatory Framework and Guidelines, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/regulatory-framework-and-guidelines (last visited July 20, 2020).

Image Source: Offshore Wind in the US Gulf of Mexico: Regional Economic Modeling and Site-Specific Analyses, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, https://espis.boem.gov/final%20reports/BOEM_2020-018.pdf (last visited July 20, 2020).

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The information is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor does reading anything that we author or post on our website constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Additionally, we may periodically update the content of our website, but the content is not necessarily complete or up to date. Likewise, information posted on our website may not be applicable to all jurisdictions.    

McCarn & Weir, P.C. is comprised of attorneys and professional staff highly experienced in transactions and litigation involving the Energy, Real Estate, Corporate, Banking and Finance industries. Our firm has multiple attorneys Board Certified in Oil, Gas and Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, along with attorneys licensed in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and California. Our goal is to provide high quality and cost-effective legal services, while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the industries we represent.


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