Fishermen and challenging the wind energy pans for the Gulf as they say that it will hurt them, especially with all the pipes on the bottom from the oil industry. Another way the oil and gas industry are hindering renewables.
Federal energy regulators have begun reviewing the potential environmental impacts of offshore wind development in the Gulf of Mexico, in keeping with President Joe Biden’s goal to produce thousands of megawatts of offshore wind energy within the next few years. The administration hopes to open the Gulf to wind lease sales by 2025, a step that will align with broader plans to produce at least 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. This week, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal agency that oversees offshore oil, gas and wind permitting, began crafting a draft environmental assessment for a 30 million-acre area stretching from the Mississippi River to the Texas-Mexico border. The assessment will consider how the construction and operation of offshore wind turbines affects fisheries, marine mammals, birds and other elements of the marine environment. Gulf shrimpers and some environmental groups have expressed concerns that turbines and other offshore wind infrastructure, including transmission cables and substations, will crowd an area already laden with oil and gas infrastructure, including many abandoned pipelines and platforms.nola.com
Workshops have been held with the commercial and recreational fishers.
BOEM held the first of several planned virtual workshops with the Gulf’s commercial and recreational fishing groups last month. While shrimpers worried that wind farms will overlap prime harvesting areas, recreational fishing groups wanted assurances they could get as close as possible to the turbines, which can act as artificial reefs and make fishing easier. The Biden administration and wind energy advocates say offshore wind development will help combat climate change and increase the number of good-paying jobs, especially in areas like Louisiana, where employment in the oil and gas industry has been fading. Several Louisiana companies that had primarily serviced the offshore oil industry are already shifting their focus to the several offshore wind projects taking shape on the East Coast. “The Gulf of Mexico is well-positioned to support a transition to a renewable energy future, as much of the infrastructure already exists to support offshore wind development in the region,” BOEM Director Amanda Lefton said. “BOEM’s environmental assessment is an important step to ensure that any development in the region is done responsibly and in a way that avoids, reduces, or mitigates potential impacts to the ocean and to ocean users.” BOEM plans to narrow its assessment area based on input from wind energy developers, fishers and other groups. Many of these stakeholders comprise the Gulf of Mexico Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, which first met in June and plans to meet again sometime early this year.
.Interest is world wide for putting the wind turbans up and running in the Gulf.
Energy companies from Singapore, Germany and Portugal and large oil companies such as Shell are already showing interest in building turbines off the Louisiana and Texas coasts. The Gulf has the potential to generate more than 500,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy per year, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. That’s twice the current energy needs of all five Gulf states, and larger than the potential offshore wind capacity of the Pacific Coast and Great Lakes combined. Information about BOEM’s environmental assessment and instructions on how to comment are available at boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/gulf-mexico-activities.
Getting these problems solved will make the approval easier and then they can start with the construction and installation.