As the U.S. government considers the Gulf of Mexico for clean energy opportunities, a series of online sessions next week will take a closer look at how offshore wind energy could become part of Louisiana’s future.
The Governor’s office and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Louisiana Economic Development and the Department of Natural Resources are hosting Louisiana Wind Week 2021 from June 21-25.
“While Louisiana’s onshore wind resources are limited, Louisiana’s coast is ripe for wind energy development,” Gov. John Bel Edwards says. “Thanks to years of oil and gas exploration experience, Louisiana’s existing infrastructure, workforce and business community give us a strategic advantage in developing offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico and all coastal waters of the United States.”
The state says that many Louisiana companies have already leveraged their experience to help design, fabricate and install the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm at the Block Island project off the coast of Rhode Island.
Louisiana Wind Week 2021 will consist of a series of Zoom webinars to be held from 9 to 11 a.m. each day from June 21-25. The sessions will focus on different topics related to the development of offshore wind and include a mix of presentations, panel discussions and Q&A with the public.
Topics will include navigating the regulatory process, minimizing impacts to fish and wildlife, minimizing impacts to existing users in the Gulf of Mexico, connecting offshore wind to end users and leveraging Louisiana’s existing offshore energy industry.
The series of webinars follows the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s first Gulf of Mexico Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force meeting on June 15. At that meeting, the state says BOEM will explain the offshore wind development process for federal waters and solicit input from federal, state, local and tribal elected officials and government representatives from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama as it identifies potential wind lease areas and engages potentially impacted parties.
According to a 2020 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, wind energy has the greatest near-term potential for renewable energy development in the Gulf of Mexico.
NREL conducted a follow up study on offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Mexico and found that the Gulf has enough technical wind energy to produce twice the power currently consumed by Gulf States. The NREL analysis also estimated that a single 600-megawatt offshore wind project could support approximately 4,470 jobs with $445 million in gross domestic product (GDP) during construction and an ongoing 150 jobs with $14 million GDP annually from operation and maintenance labor, materials and services.
More information about attending the seminar is available here.