Louisianna sets its sights on offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico

In: Windfarms
Governor of Louisiana John Bel Edwards has announced a renewable energy initiative for the Gulf of Mexico, with plans to harness the State's strengths in offshore wind.

Gov. Edwards presented his vision at inaugural meeting of the Climate Initiatives Task Force he created earlier this year. Offshore wind energy will be one of many strategies pursued by the task force to curb the growth of greenhouse gas emissions that have reduced air quality, contributed to coastal erosion through sea rise, and increased the severity of weather events.  

Gov. Edwards asked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) acting director, Dr. Cruickshank, to establish the task force that will coordinate commercial leasing proposals for wind energy in federal waters off Louisiana’s coast. That effort will create a business path for development of wind farms in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I have asked Dr. Walter Cruickshank and the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to help us establish a task force of federal, state and local officials who will build a blueprint for renewable energy production in the Gulf of Mexico,” Gov. Edwards said.

“This is not some ‘pie in the sky’ promise of economic opportunity. We already have an emerging offshore wind energy industry, and Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas industry has played a key role in the early development of U.S. offshore wind energy in the Atlantic Ocean.”

The Bureau of Ocean Management commissioned a pair of three-year studies to determine the technical feasibility and economic potential of offshore wind energy in the Gulf of Mexico. Both studies were completed in 2020 by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which estimates the Gulf of Mexico could produce 10% of U.S. wind energy.  

A single 600 MW wind farm in the Gulf would produce an estimated 4,400 jobs and $445 million in economic output during the construction phase, based upon modeling the by U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Operations would contribute 150 new permanent jobs, along with an estimated $14 million in annual spending.

“Offshore wind is an exciting and multifaceted opportunity for Louisiana,” said President and CEO Michael Hecht of GNO Inc. “Wind is a natural extension of Louisiana’s energy industry, and employs many of its existing sectors like offshore marine services. Wind is also an advanced manufacturing opportunity, with the world’s largest wind turbine blades already under development in New Orleans. Finally, wind will help support Louisiana’s growing reputation as a leader in environmental management. With this in mind, GNO Inc. thanks Governor Edwards for his request to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that they evaluate wind development off Louisiana’s coast.”

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