Within a decade, the Gulf of Mexico shelf could generate cost-competitive wind energy, and Louisiana could play a key role.
As WorkBoat reports, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has concluded in a report released in May that offshore wind generation from shallow Gulf waters will be economically viable by 2030.
The most likely landing spots for inaugural offshore wind farms in the Gulf, according to the study, are two sites off Texas and another off the Florida coast. The Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island is currently the only commercial offshore wind facility generating electricity in the U.S.
According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which funded the study, a key differentiator for Gulf Coast wind energy is the extensive labor and supply-chain infrastructure already in place to support the offshore oil and gas sector.
The WorkBoat story notes that Gulf Island Fabrication in Houma fabricated the five jacket/piles for the shallow-water Block Island project, with idled Gulf of Mexico liftboats handling the installation.
GE Renewable Energy operates an onshore wind turbine assembly plant in Pensacola, while its LM Wind Power entity opened a technology center on the NASA Michoud campus outside of New Orleans in 2018 to design and test wind turbine blades.