The Case for Offshore Wind
The biggest advantage for Louisiana is its offshore oil and gas supply chain. The state already has the expertise and infrastructure to build offshore wind turbines, including shipyards, offshore services, and ports.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in a 2020 report ranked Louisiana fourth in state offshore technical wind potential. According to the NREL, the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico reduce the need for tall, expensive turbines or the necessity to construct floating turbines. Additionally, its warm temperatures and smaller wave heights are projected to make construction and maintenance easier and less expensive.
For Louisiana, a single 600-megawatt wind farm in the Gulf would produce an estimated 4,400 jobs and $445 million in economic output during the construction phase, according to NREL. Operations on one farm would contribute 150 new permanent jobs, along with an estimated $14 million annually.
By 2035, industry forecasts suggest U.S. offshore wind energy capacity could grow to 22 gigawatts through $70 billion of new capital investment in manufacturing and port infrastructure, as well as 45,000 new direct jobs. The Gulf of Mexico could produce 10% of U.S. wind energy, predicted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The development of wind energy in southeastern Louisiana will help support Louisiana’s growing reputation as a leader in environmental management. As well, wind is a natural extension of Louisiana’s energy industry and employs many of its existing peripheral sectors, like offshore marine services. Greater New Orleans is already home to critical players in the state’s transition to wind energy development. In fact, in New Orleans East, the LM Wind Power campus built on the NASA Michoud campus develops and tests new blade technology. Additionally, Keystone Engineering – a St. Tammany-based firm – partnered with Bentley OpenWindPower Fixed Foundation to adapt steel jacket foundations used in the oil and gas industry as the design for deep-water wind turbine support structures.
State and Federal Support
In November 2020, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a renewable energy initiative for the Gulf of Mexico. This plan centers Louisiana’s strengths and advantage in offshore energy production for the development of wind power, including a state energy goal of 5GW in offshore wind generation by 2035.
Just before this announcement, Gov. Edwards asked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s acting director, Dr. Cruickshank, to establish the Climate Initiatives Task Force, to improve Louisiana’s resilience, sustain its coast, and help avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The development of wind energy off the coast of Louisiana will play a critical role in realizing the Task Force and Governor’s ambition to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In June 2022, Gov. Edwards signed HB165 into law, which creates a legal framework to allow offshore wind leasing in state waters, as well as a revenue sharing mechanism between companies and the state.
On the federal level, the Wind Energy Technologies Office, housed under the U.S. Department of Energy, sponsors research and development activities to enable greater use of wind energy sources for electric power generation. This activity will help stabilize energy costs, enhance energy security, and improve our environment. For more information about federal activity supporting wind energy development, visit the the Wind Energy Technologies Office, GNO, Inc. also supports legislation that would establish a federal offshore wind revenue sharing model, namely the RISEE and BREEZE Acts.
Additionally, BOEM’s ongoing Gulf of Mexico Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, is a partnership between federal, state, and local agencies and Tribal governments tasked with coordinating renewable energy planning activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the Gulf of Mexico. It serves as a forum to discuss stakeholder issues, exchanges data, and information about ocean use and resources, and facilitate collaboration opportunities.Learn About the BOEM Task Force
GNO, Inc. is dedicated to helping companies do business in the Greater New Orleans region, and this includes the attraction, retention, and expansion of wind energy developers off the coast of Louisiana. Additionally, GNO and Louisiana are well positioned to be a supply and manufacturing hub for offshore wind development and maintenance projects.
GNO, Inc. also organizes, manages, and oversees the GNOwind Alliance that is made up of 200+ organizations that provide the expertise to grow the region and state as an energy leader.
In May 2022, RWE Renewables officially partnered with GNO, Inc. and the GNOwind Alliance to help establish an offshore wind supply chain in Louisiana.
In June 2022, GNO, Inc. led a business trip to Rhode Island to visit the Block Island Wind Farm. This development was largely constructed, installed, and serviced by Louisiana companies. Participants received the chance to see and understand the role and potential for Louisiana to be the supply chain for offshore wind in America.
There are 71,328 existing wind turbines across the United States, both on land and offshore. There are currently only 2 offshore wind farms in the U.S. They are located in Block Island, Rhode Island (Block Island Wind Farm) and Norfolk/Hampton Roads, Virginia (Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind).
No wind farms currently exist in Louisiana.
Louisiana’s shallow continental shelf is ideal for next-generation wind turbines and farms, and our state boasts one of the nation’s largest shares of deployable offshore wind resources. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory [NREL] forecasts that a single Gulf of Mexico offshore wind project could support 4,470 jobs during construction and an ongoing 150 jobs filled by operational and maintenance labor.
Wind energy, or wind power, is electricity generated by turbines that convert the movement of wind. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of the moving wind into electrical energy.
The best way to think about a wind turbine is a reverse fan: rather than using electricity to make wind, these enormous fans use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blades of the turbine, and the blades spin a shaft connected to a generator. Take a Look Inside a Wind Turbine to understand the mechanics, or view this Wind Turbine Animation. For more information, please explore “How Wind Turbines Work”.
Wind turbines – collectively a wind farm – can be installed onshore and offshore. There is generally more wind offshore, therefore offshore wind farms can often provide more energy.
In 2021, wind turbines were the source of about 2% of total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation. The total annual U.S. electricity generation from wind energy increased from about 6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2000 to about 380 billion kWh in 2021. For reference, 1 billion kWh can power around 93,000 homes for a year.
Wind and solar energy resources can reliably integrate into a utility providers grid regardless of the variability of the resource. Grid operators have various tools to maintain the balance of electricity supply and demand, and grid operations are equipped to balance diverse resources, adjusting when necessary.
Offshore Wind Events Calendar
|September 28, 2022 | 5 – 7PM||Young Professionals in Energy, New Orleans Chapter: Meeting with BOEM||GNO, Inc. Board Room, 1100 Poydras Street, Suite 3475, New Orleans, 70163||n/a|
|October 17, 2022 | Times throughout||ACP Offshore Windpower Conference and Exhibition Pre-Conference Offsite Tours||Rhode Island Convention Center | Providence, Rhode Island||Pre-conference Sign Up|
|October 18-19, 2022||American Clean Power (ACP) Offshore Windpower Conference and Exhibition||Rhode Island Convention Center | Providence, Rhode Island||Conference Website|
|October 31 – November 4, 2022||U.S. Department of Commerce Executive-Led ICT and Clean Technology Trade Mission to Serbia and Montenegro||Serbia and Montenegro||Trip Details|
|November 8, 2022 | 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM||Offshore Wind Executive Summit||Moody Gardens Resort & Convention Center, Galveston, TX||Summit Website|
|January 19-20, 2023||Business Network for Offshore Wind Summit||NOPSI Hotel, 317 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA||Summit Website|
|May 22-24, 2023||ACP Clean Power 2023 Conference and Exhibition||Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA||Conference Website|
German Company RWE teams up with GNO, Inc. to develop Louisiana offshore wind supply chain
One of the top global companies in offshore wind to build a program that will help existing Louisiana companies participate in the growing national supply chain for offshore wind.
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