Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has asked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to help the state establish a task force to build a blueprint for offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico
Governor Edwards presented his vision on 9 November 2020 at an inaugural meeting of the Climate Initiatives Task Force he created earlier this year. He said 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.
“I have asked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to help us establish a task force of federal, state and local officials who will build a blueprint for renewable energy in the Gulf of Mexico,” Governor 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 US offshore wind energy in the Atlantic Ocean.”
He cited Lafayette, Louisiana-based Aries Marine Corp and Galliano-based Falcon Global as the liftboat operators that helped develop the first commercial offshore windfarm in the US, Block Island. For that project, Metairie-based Keystone Engineering provided design assistance and Houma-based Gulf Island Fabrication built foundation jackets and piling.
Office of Coastal Activities deputy director Harry Vorhoff said, “Renewable energy like offshore wind can help the state cut its emissions and do its part in avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.
“I applaud Governor Edwards for opening the door, so we can take a hard look at how and where renewable energy is deployed in the federal waters off Louisiana’s coast. I look forward to working with BOEM and co-ordinating this effort across federal, state, local, and tribal governments.”
In a recent letter, Governor Edwards asked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s acting director, Dr Walter Cruickshank, to establish the task force that will co-ordinate commercial leasing proposals for wind energy in federal waters off Louisiana’s coast. That effort will create a business path for development of windfarms in the Gulf of Mexico.
In a statement, the Governor said a 600-MW offshore windfarm in the Gulf would create 4,400 jobs and US$445M in economic output during the construction phase, based upon modelling the by US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Operations would contribute 150 new permanent jobs, along with an estimated US$14M in annual spending.
Studies on the renewable energy potential of the outer continental shelf in the US sector of the Gulf of Mexico have found significant potential to develop offshore wind. The studies were undertaken by BOEM and National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Offshore Renewable Energy Technologies in the Gulf of Mexico analysed different offshore renewable energy technology to determine which are best suited for development in the Gulf of Mexico. The study looked at wind, wave, tidal, current, solar, deepwater source cooling and hydrogen and found that offshore wind showed the greatest resource potential and is the most mature technology of those analysed for the region.
Of all the technologies, offshore wind had the largest quantity of technical resource potential with 508 GW covering all Gulf of Mexico states, although Texas and Louisiana show the highest overall technical offshore wind resource potential.