Floating solar power plants could transform the US Gulf of Mexico from an international petroleum play into one of the world’s largest marine renewable energy provinces, but it will be offshore wind that leads the region’s energy transition, according to a new study from the US government’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

Open ocean PV – a rapidly growing sector with first protoype trials of a so-called ‘high-wave’ project off the Netherlands having taken place earlier this year and with a number megaprojects in development – was calculated to have the ‘greatest resource potential’ of any of the technologies stress-tested for the report, prepared for BOEM by a team led by Walt Musial.