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U.S. to hold first offshore wind rights sale in Gulf of Mexico next month

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first auction of offshore wind power in the Gulf of Mexico will take place next month, the United States said on Thursday, an industry milestone discussed by President Joe Biden during a trip to underscore the administration’s efforts to boost clean energy.

In February, the United States proposed expanding offshore wind development into the Gulf of Mexico, bringing the nascent clean energy industry into a major center of oil and gas production.

Biden has made the expansion of offshore wind a cornerstone of his agenda to fight fossil fuel-driven climate change.

The Home Office said the sale would take place in August 000.

“We’re going to the Gulf,” Biden said in a speech in Philadelphia. do you think i’m joking? You haven’t seen anything yet.

According to a sale document, companies eligible for the auction include subsidiaries of European energy firm Equinor, Shell (LON: RDSa), RWE and TotalEnergies, all of which are already developing U.S. offshore wind leasing businesses. Equinor and Shell also have major oil and gas operations in the Gulf. Renewable energy developer Hecate Energy and Houston-based private equity firm Quantum (NASDAQ: QMCO

) Capital.

The sale will include 000, 480 acres of leased acreage offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana, and a total of nearly 102, 000 acres offshore Galveston, Texas, the White House said. The companies will bid Development rights for these acres.

These areas have the potential to generate approximately 3.7 GW, providing clean energy to nearly 1.3 million homes, according to the Department of the Interior.

The National Oceanic Industries Association (NOIA), which represents offshore wind and oil and gas companies, says there are “significant synergies” between the two energy industries.

“With the introduction of offshore wind along the Gulf Coast, many local companies will now have the opportunity to actively participate in the construction of new wind projects closer to home, NOIA President Erik Milito said

The Biden administration has held three offshore wind lease auctions, including last year’s largest-ever auction of its kind in the U.S. off the coast of New York and New Jersey, which attracted a record $1.5 billion in bids, and the first auction held on California’s Pacific coast. Is unique to the region. Electricity prices are also lower in the Southeast, which could make it harder for higher-cost offshore wind to compete for power contracts.

Biden traveled to Philadelphia on Thursday to promise a green economy to union workers, some of whom remain skeptical that the solar, wind and electric vehicle industries will deliver the same economic hit to organized labor as refineries and fossil fuel power plants.

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