Company Plans Large Wind Plant Offshore of Galveston, Texas
Galveston-Offshore Wind, LLC is planning to build a 150-megawatt wind power plant about seven miles off the coast of Galveston Island, Texas. The Texas General Land Office (GLO) announced on October 24th that the company, a division of Wind Energy Systems Technology, LLC, has signed a lease agreement for an 11,355-acre area in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given the company its approval to build two meteorological test towers in the lease area, and construction of those towers will begin immediately. The wind power project depends on good wind resources, as indicated by the test towers, as well as state and federal approvals. See the GLO press release (PDF 215 KB) and the GLO Web page for the project, which features maps, video, and other information. Download Adobe Reader.
The GLO claims the Texas project could be the first offshore wind plant in the nation, but proposed wind projects off the coasts of Massachusetts and Long Island have a head start. Cape Wind LLC and the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) proposed those projects and filed permit applications with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Corps has prepared a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Massachusetts project. See the Cape Wind and LIPA Web sites and the Corps of Engineers Web pages for the Cape Wind and LIPA projects.
To help move ahead on offshore wind power, DOE recently teamed up with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) and GE to establish a framework for offshore wind power development. The resulting report proposes forming a national coalition to address responsible development of U.S. offshore wind resources. Meanwhile, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 has shifted the lead authority for such offshore renewable energy projects to the Minerals Management Service (MMS), part of the U.S. Department of Interior. MMS has created a Web page and is required to issue new regulations by May 2006. See the MTC and MMS press releases and the new MMS Renewable Energy and Alternate Uses Web page.