Houston, TX

Wind Energy Areas bigger than Houston and Austin proposed for the Gulf

T. Ware

It’s time to voice your opinion about the proposal for massive wind farms off the Texas coast.

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Enormous Wind Energy Areas proposed to speed up the clean energy transition -Nicholas Doherty/Unsplash

A proposal for two Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) in the Gulf of Mexico is on the table. One proposed WEA is bigger than Houston. The other is bigger than Austin.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) wants your opinions about them.

According to a Department of the Interior press release, this is “In response to the President’s call to advance offshore wind development and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.”

One WEA will cover 546,654 acres off the coast of Galveston, TX. It will have the potential “to power 2.3 million homes with clean wind energy,” per the press release.

To help put the size in perspective, the city of Houston covers 426,000 acres.

The other WEA will cover 188,023 acres off the coast of Lake Charles, LA. “It has the potential to power 799,000 homes.”

That would make that Wind Energy Area bigger than Austin, which covers 174,000 acres.

That’s a substantial decrease from the original proposal of 30 million acres for the two sites.

According to the press release, “The draft WEAs were reduced to avoid potential impacts on other ocean uses and resources, such as commercial and recreational fishing, maritime navigation, military activities, marine protected species, avian species, and existing infrastructure.”

The Texas Tribune reports,

“Texas is already the country’s largest wind power producer and has land-based wind farms up and down the Gulf Coast, where winds typically blow harder.”

However, sometimes there’s not enough wind in Texas to generate needed energy.

“On July 11, when ERCOT asked Texans to conserve electricity because demand threatened to exceed supply, wind generation dropped to less than 10% of its overall capacity,” per the Texas Tribune.

Yet, when energy consumption hit a new record on July 22, the solar and wind power combination provided 25% of the grid’s energy.

The Texas Tribune reports, Brad Jones, President of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said the development will take some time. “That time will be based on how quickly we can put together port facilities, the specialized ships that are necessary, and train our labor force to achieve this type of development. It is new for the U.S.”

Do you believe this is the best solution for Texas' energy needs?

The BOEM wants your input. Let them know your opinions about the proposed project. The public comment period ends on August 19, 2022.

Texans don’t want to worry about rolling blackouts or emergency energy conservation demands.

Do you think massive Wind Energy Areas are the solution?

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