Essen-based RWE has secured a lease area 70kms off the coast of Louisiana with the potential to supply up to 2 GW of offshore wind power. The company’s successful USD 5.6 million bid came during the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) first-ever Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease auction.
The area was one of three offered by the BOEM where fixed-bottom structures are likely to be developed in water depths of 10-25m. They could be operational by the mid-2030s. The three areas have the potential to host installed capacity of more than 3.7 GW. Louisiana state is aiming for 5 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2035.
RWE Offshore Wind CEO, Sven Utermöhlen, commented: “With today’s success in the Gulf of Mexico, RWE continues to build its position in the US offshore wind industry. In 2022 we entered the US offshore market and quickly expanded from coast to coast. Entering a new region in the Gulf is an exciting milestone to further deploy over 20 years of expertise across the value chain and deliver a new energy resource into the region. We look forward to shaping this new market together with our stakeholders to activate the full potential of offshore wind for the region.”
RWE has already put in place plans for offshore wind development in the region, including a collaboration with Greater New Orleans, Inc, the regional economic development body. The company now intends to work with companies in Louisiana’s supply chain to identify those with transferable capabilities for offshore wind.
The US market is central to RWE’s development plans. The company was successful in two rounds of BOEM auctions last year, acquiring lease areas on both US coasts. On the east coast, RWE is working with National Grid Ventures to develop Community Offshore Wind, a fixed-bottom project with a potential capacity of more than 3 GW. It is also developing one of the first floating offshore wind projects with a potential power provision of about 1.6 GW off the coast of California.
With a headcount of 1,500 employees in the US, RWE is currently developing offshore wind projects that could provide more than 24 GW of power, one of the largest in the country.