The US Department of the Interior (DOI) has announced a proposal to hold the first offshore wind lease auction in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the department, the proposal is part of the leasing plan announced by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in 2021 to achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of installing 30GW of offshore wind energy capacity by the end of this decade.

It also comes after the DOI’s approval of the first two commercial scale offshore wind projects in the country.

The proposed sale notice comprises a 102,480 acres area offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana, and two regions off the coast of Galveston, Texas. The Texas lease areas include a parcel of 102,480 acres and another spanning 96,786 acres.

Put together, the areas are expected to facilitate offshore wind capacity that will be adequate to power nearly 1.3 million households with clean energy.

Haaland said: “America’s clean energy transition is happening right here and now. At the Department, we are taking action to jumpstart our offshore wind industry and harness American innovation to deliver reliable, affordable power to homes and businesses.

“There is no time to waste in making bold investments to address the climate crisis, and building a strong domestic offshore wind industry is key to meeting that challenge head on.”

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is seeking public comments on whether or not either of the two lease areas offshore Galveston should be included in the final sale notice.

A public comment period of 60 days will be initiated for the proposed sale notice.

The DOI stated that the BOEM will publish a final sale notice at least 30 days before the sale if the department decides to move forward with it.

BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein said: “Today’s announcement comes after years of engagement with Tribes, other government agencies, ocean users and stakeholders, and this proposed sale notice provides another opportunity for them to weigh in on potential offshore wind leasing in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Separately, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced new initiatives to boost the country’s floating offshore wind development by advancing offshore wind transmission planning, research and technology, and partnerships.

The new actions are expected to contribute to the US government’s goal of deploying 15GW of floating offshore wind by 2035 and reducing the cost of the technology by over 70% by the same period.