Offshore wind could provide Texas with 166% of its electricity needs, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research & Policy Center
Last year, the federal government identified Port Isabel and Port Arthur as viable sites for offshore wind and selected the two Texas towns for more detailed cost analysis. Environment Texas called on the state of Texas to form a task force to begin siting offshore wind.
Environment Texas Research & Policy Center executive director Luke Metzger said, “With strong winds in the evenings when we need energy the most, offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico would complement Texas’ onshore renewable energy resources and help us achieve 100% clean power.
“We can put the infrastructure and expertise we developed for offshore drilling to work developing this abundant, clean resource.”
Mr Metzger said the Gulf of Mexico has unique attributes, and challenges, for developing offshore wind. Shallow, warm water, smaller waves, and existing offshore infrastructure and expertise are an advantage, while lower wind speeds and hurricane risks are challenges.
In 2020, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico will be economical without subsidies by the early 2030s, with a levelised cost of energy as low as US$70/MWh.
The report said that price parity could be achieved sooner if not for a “lack of current state policy commitments that are driving offshore wind development in other regions of the US.”
In November 2020, Louisiana Governor Edwards launched a task force to co-ordinate commercial leasing proposals for wind energy in federal waters off Louisiana’s coast. Environment Texas called on Governor Abbott, Land Commissioner Bush and other state leaders to take similar steps to develop offshore wind off the Texas coast.
According to NREL, a 600-MW project off Port Arthur "could support approximately 4,470 jobs with US$445M in gross domestic product (GDP) during construction and an ongoing 150 jobs with US$14M GDP annually from operation and maintenance labour, materials, and services."
“We have a lot of potential off our coast here in Texas and offshore wind can play a key part in building a robust and resilient energy system,” Mr Metzger said. “As we look to a future of electrification and 100% renewable energy, there is no question offshore wind will play a key role.”
The findings about Texas’ offshore wind potential are part of Offshore Wind for America.
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