Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

More interest in our potential for near shore wind turbines.

With at least five wind farms now proposed for the waters off Louisiana, the state is quickly becoming a national leader for near-shore wind energy development. “Louisiana is very much a first mover on this,” said Jenny Netherton, a program manager for the Southeastern Wind Coalition. “This is all kind of new, but Louisiana is one of the only states making it an option for developing in state waters.” This month, global renewable energy firm Vestas began negotiations with the state for potential offshore wind farms near the coasts of Cameron and St. Mary parishes, according to records from the state Department of Natural Resources.

A lot of interest from Europe.

The Danish company joins Mitsubishi-owned Diamond Offshore Wind and Kontiki Winds of Norway in offering proposals in recent weeks for wind farms in Louisiana waters, which extend about three miles from the coast. Operating in Louisiana under the name Cajun Wind, Vestas did not respond to requests for information about its proposal. It’s unclear how large or how far offshore its wind farms might be. DNR officials say they can’t discuss projects under negotiation. Vestas bills itself as the world’s leading wind developer, installing more than 164 gigawatts of onshore and offshore turbines in 88 countries. The company has developed several offshore wind projects in Europe, but its focus in the U.S. has been on turbine manufacturing. It has supplied offshore turbines for the proposed 2-gigawatt Empire Wind project and the 1.5-gigawatt Atlantic Shores project proposed for the federal waters off New York and New Jersey. Vestas has two turbine factories in Colorado and plans to build two more factories in New York and New Jersey in the coming years.

Much has been focused on off shore as there are higher winds. The Gulf does not have that velocity of wind.

Much of the recent growth in the U.S.’s nascent offshore wind industry has been in far-offshore federal waters, where wind speeds are greater. But Louisiana has attracted attention with a potentially speedier approval process, strong support from Gov. John Bel Edwards and little opposition from residents or other industries. “We already have a working coast in a way that a lot of other places don’t,” said Netherton, who is based in New Orleans. While other states have large coastal populations that may object to wind turbines cluttering their ocean views, “in Louisiana, we already see oil platforms from our coast.” The U.S.’s first offshore wind farm was built in Rhode Island’s state-managed waters in 2016. Since then, several much larger projects have been initiated, but all of them are in federal rather than state waters along the East Coast.

Bidding starts soon.

Bidding on the Gulf’s first federal offshore lease areas is expected to begin this summer or early fall, but permitting and other processes likely won’t allow construction until 2030. That has steered some developer interest to Louisiana, which has laid out a welcome mat for near-shore wind farms. Other states haven’t been as friendly. In 2021, Maine banned wind farms in state waters as conflicts arose with lobstermen and other fishing interests. Texas’ state waters have higher wind speeds than Louisiana’s, but its state leaders have proposed legislation limiting the development of renewable energy. While unlikely to be large wind farms that power millions of homes, projects in state waters have several advantages, according to American Clean Power, a renewable energy advocacy group. Projects closer to shore have lower transmission costs and can operate on a scale that suits the testing of new technologies. Kontiki, which has shown interest in developing a wind farm off Cameron and Vermilion parishes, is developing floating turbines that could power offshore oil and gas platforms. The Norwegian company is collaborating with a Houston firm on floating “micro-grid” wind projects linked to offshore platforms or small islands in the Gulf and off the coasts of South America and Europe.

It is nice to be first in something positive!

We lead in near shore wind energy development
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