Home > Explore News > NCCOS Spatial Modeling Informs Selection of Wind Energy Areas in Gulf of Mexico

NCCOS Spatial Modeling Informs Selection of Wind Energy Areas in Gulf of Mexico

Published on: 10/31/2023
Primary Contact(s): james.morris@noaa.gov

In a big step toward supporting the Biden Administration’s plan to expand offshore wind energy in the U.S., the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has chosen four Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) in the Gulf of Mexico. These WEAs have the capacity to provide clean, renewable electricity to over three million homes. The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) provided spatial modeling expertise for the region, helping BOEM make decisions with the most comprehensive ocean intelligence available.

Map of four new WEAs in the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: BOEM.

Planning these areas was no small task. NCCOS worked closely with BOEM to carefully study the data available for the Gulf of Mexico. The spatial planning process helps to model and identify suitable areas for wind energy development that minimize potential conflicts and reduce the environmental footprint of human activities in this ecosystem. Using this model, BOEM identified four new WEAs:

  1. Option J is 495,000 acres and is located about 47 miles off the coast of Texas. It's big enough to power around 2.1 million homes.
  2. Option K spans 119,000 acres and is roughly 61 miles off the Texas coast. It can support projects that power about 500,000 homes.
  3. Option L covers 91,000 acres, it's situated approximately 53 miles off the Texas coast and has the potential to provide energy for 385,000 homes.
  4. Option N is about 57,000 acres and is located approximately 82 miles off the coast of Louisiana. It can help power approximately 240,000 homes.

NCCOS's role in planning these areas helps inform wind energy development in ways that also conserve both NOAA Trust Resources and existing industries in the Gulf of Mexico. 


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