In an effort to advance offshore wind energy technology and expand the emerging industry’s skilled workforce, Gulf Wind Technology announced today it is collaborating with Shell to establish a research, training and technology demonstration program at GWT’s Avondale Global Gateway facility in Jefferson Parish.
“The Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator represents a milestone in the development of Louisiana as a hub for offshore wind,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO, Inc. “Combining the scale of Shell with the expertise of Gulf Wind Technology, the Accelerator will help Greater New Orleans develop the assets and workforce to power the energy future of the Gulf South, and the country.”
GWT, supported by a $10 million investment from Shell, will create 30 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $83,000. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 54 new indirect jobs, for a total of 84 new jobs in the Southeast Region.
“As the world transitions to cleaner energy, Louisiana is leading the way, creating jobs and diversifying our economy in the process of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “I applaud Gulf Wind Technology and Shell for seizing the opportunity that the new energy economy represents for Louisiana. With a skilled workforce in place and a climate action plan goal of 5 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2035, there is no better state than Louisiana to invest in this rapidly expanding industry.”
The Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator will be a hub for offshore wind energy development as the companies work to design the first suite of products optimized for conditions in the Gulf of Mexico. The first turbine is expected to be ready for demonstration as early as next year. The Accelerator will also house an offshore wind workforce education and training program.
“Wind resources in the Gulf region are more variable than what you find on the east coast where most of US offshore wind development activity is currently happening,” says James Martin, GWT CEO. “Seasonal hurricane conditions and moderate average wind speeds create a situation that requires a novel approach to the application of technology and the framework in which it is both developed and demonstrated. The Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator program has been specifically created to address and fulfill this need and enable next steps for the region and for the industry.”
Based in the redeveloped industrial park on the site of the old Avondale Shipyard, GWT is a globally recognized expert in wind turbine rotor technology. Its headquarters consists of a 30,000 square foot technology facility, an advanced composites lab and access to more than 1.5 million square feet of manufacturing and fabrication space with on-site railway, road and barge access.
“Shell has been operating in the Gulf of Mexico for over six decades and has a long history of developing energy projects, including advancing and proving deep-water technologies,” Vice President of Shell Offshore Power Americas Amanda Dasch said. “We see opportunities to do the same for offshore wind in this region and are proud to support Louisiana’s 5GW offshore wind target by 2035. This $10 million investment to create the Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator Center allows us to advance offshore wind development in the Gulf, while providing local wind industry training opportunities.”
“The development of the Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator in Jefferson Parish aligns directly with JEDCO’s commitment to environmental sustainability and renewable energy,” JEDCO President and CEO Jerry Bologna said. “A dynamic collaboration between Shell and Gulf Wind Technology positions Jefferson Parish as a global player in offshore wind power. This investment has the potential to change the landscape of our economy and put Jefferson Parish on the map in new and exciting ways.”
To secure the project in Avondale, the state of Louisiana offered Gulf Wind Technology a competitive incentives package featuring the comprehensive workforce development solutions of LED FastStart. The incentive package also includes a performance-based $375,000 award through the Economic Development Award Program to support site infrastructure improvements. In addition, the company is expected to participate in the Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.