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April 25, 2024

New Report: Louisiana Can Reap Job, Economic Benefits From Offshore Wind

A report released today shows that Louisiana businesses and workers stand to benefit from the expansion of offshore wind nationally and in the Gulf of Mexico. The report, “Louisiana Offshore Wind Supply Chain Assessment,” released by the Southeastern Wind Coalition, Greater New Orleans Inc., the Center for Planning Excellence, and The Pew Charitable Trusts in collaboration with global energy consultancy Xodus Group, offers recommendations to help Louisiana tap into its wealth of energy expertise and capacity to build offshore wind in U.S. waters.

“Louisiana is already a national leader for offshore construction. Harnessing that expertise and infrastructure for offshore wind is a logical next step,” says Hillary Bright, vice president of renewables for Xodus. “The opportunity is real, and it’s here right now for Louisiana’s suppliers.”

Louisiana businesses have been instrumental in helping to build this emerging energy sector since the first U.S. offshore wind farm came online near Rhode Island in 2016.

“As the report makes clear, Louisiana can be a leader in supplying the goods and services needed to build out offshore wind in the U.S.,” said Courtney Durham Shane, a senior officer with Pew’s energy modernization project. “This industry is poised to generate over $100 billion in private investment and nearly 50,000 jobs in this country, much of which can be realized by Louisiana businesses and workers.”

The findings follow a federal government announcement of new offshore lease opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico that have the potential to power up to 1.2 million homes and create jobs and economic development across Louisiana. The report also outlines five crucial steps the state should take to build its offshore wind opportunities and broaden its reputation as an energy leader. The recommendations are:

  1. Maximize export opportunities to strengthen business networks to position Louisiana companies for large contracts.
  2. Invest in the offshore-ready workforce and job sites to build awareness about offshore wind job opportunities and be ready to fill the supply chain needs.
  3. Upgrade ports and support shipbuilding to meet national targets and support the maritime industry by leveraging the state’s reputation as a shipbuilding hub.
  4. Capitalize on the economic benefits of offshore wind by committing to and codifying a state offshore wind procurement target and establishing a lead agency within state government to provide market certainty, ensure the enforceability of state goals, and drive additional private investment.
  5. Lean into Louisiana leadership by coordinating state government, higher education networks, economic development organizations, and grant-funded innovation clusters to expand the state’s leadership in the energy sector to meet the supply chain and workforce needs of U.S. offshore wind.

The report also inventories the state’s current assets that are offshore wind-ready. The impressive numbers help to reinforce the case for Louisiana benefits and demonstrate how the state can serve as a strong link to fill supply chain gaps.

“Louisiana is an energy leader, and this report shows how the state can add wind to an already thriving offshore economy,” said Southeastern Wind Coalition’s senior program manager, Jenny Netherton. “With more than 450 businesses capable of becoming offshore-ready, Louisiana’s workforce is poised to serve as the foundation of the offshore wind industry in the United States.”

Over 100 fabrication and manufacturing assets have strong potential to support offshore wind development when combined with investments to reskill, retool, or expand their current operations.

“Long-term planning and conducive policies are critical to ensuring that Louisiana can take advantage of the opportunities presented by offshore wind,” said Camille Manning-Broome, president and CEO of the Center for Planning Excellence. “As this report makes clear, the state has more than 60,000 workers and hundreds of businesses that are well-positioned to welcome this industry to the Gulf. And with strategic foresight and proactive measures, Louisiana can harness the potential of offshore wind to provide sustainable growth and economic prosperity for generations to come.”

“Louisiana can lead in wind power the same way it has led in oil and gas production,” said Lacy McManus, executive director of future energy for Greater New Orleans Inc. “Today, our state plays a vital role in bolstering the country’s offshore wind supply chain through manufacturing, engineering, design, and other services that leverage decades of expertise, setting the stage for Louisiana to be a global leader in wind energy production.”

To learn more about how Louisiana businesses are reacting to the report, click here.