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Louisiana has developed a green offshore wind power transformation plan

Clean power
Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Gulf of Mexico

Published on November 12, 2020|
Tina Casey

November 12, 2020 by Tina Casey

The states around the Gulf of Mexico are sitting on gold mines of offshore wind power, but until now, political ideas have been somewhat detrimental to the idea of ​​using this pool of economic activity. Everything will change because the state of Louisiana suddenly proposed an ambitious plan to fuel the Gulf of Mexico with wind turbines.Leaving Texas The weather in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida is cold, although it may not last long. In addition to the clean power market in the region, green hydrogen is also playing a role.

Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Gulf of Mexico

Louisiana is undergoing a green transformation through a new offshore wind power plan, and maybe TX, AL, MS and FL will follow (picture from NREL).

Louisiana Offshore Wind Power

Among the five states, Texas seems to be in the best position to develop its offshore wind energy. Wind-rich states have been constantly improving their renewable energy profile during Trump’s tenure, including some of the latest news related to the global power system. Texas has been known for its early adoption of onshore wind turbines, but for various reasons, it has been slow to use its offshore potential. In this way, the door is open and another Gulf country can jump over.

On Monday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced an ambitious plan to increase clean energy in Gulf waters with the help of the US Ocean Energy Administration.

Considering that President Trump is still President until January 20, 2021, as everyone knows, he is not an ordinary wind turbine, especially offshore wind turbines. It seems strange that BOEM is helping and teaching offshore wind power.

Nevertheless, BOEM still grasps the key to accelerating the development of offshore wind power through its license to lease offshore areas. During Trump’s first and only term, he has been doing this all the time.

Ironically, during the Obama administration, maritime activities have stalled, but this is partly due to the Republican governors throwing wrenches in coastal states.

During the Trump administration, changes in the state-level political guard helped reverse the situation in many states along the Atlantic. The Democratic governor of Louisiana is eager to put his state on the seat that has been determined.

Louisiana’s leading advantage of offshore wind power

The so-called collection refers to all fixed collections. Louisiana has achieved a leading edge in offshore wind power development through its oil and gas industry skills and supply chain.

In a press release touting the new plan, Edwards pointed out that several companies in Louisiana have participated in the development of the first (and currently the only) offshore wind farm in the United States, and Rhode Island has the right to brag.

“On the coast of Rhode Island, Aries Marine Corp. of Lafayette and Falcon Global LLC of Galliano are Louisiana crane vessel operators and helped develop the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States. Rock Island. For the project, Metairie-based Keystone Engineering provided design assistance, while Houma-based Gulf Island Fabrication built the foundation jacket and piling,” Edwards News Office reported.

Edwards has asked BOEM for help to establish a working group to coordinate leasing proposals.

At the same time, according to the model of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the state has expected to obtain 4,400 jobs and $445 million in economic output from a 600 MW wind farm.

“By 2035, industry forecasts show that through US$70 billion in new capital investment in manufacturing and port infrastructure and 45,000 new direct jobs, U.S. offshore wind power generation may grow to 22 GW,” Louisiana excited To say.

More economic activity at work

State decision makers are already eyeing Louisiana’s potential to become a technology leader in the global offshore wind power market. In 2018, GE branch LM Wind Power opened a new wind turbine blade testing center on the historic NASA Michoud campus near New Orleans (the birthplace of the Saturn V rocket). In April last year, it expanded its factory and added 100 jobs.

Our friends are NOLA.com According to the report, the expanded turbine testing center is currently studying GE’s 12-megawatt, 170-foot offshore blade, which is said to be the world’s largest blade (probably referring to GE’s Haliade-X wind turbine).

This is just a reminder of the green work situation in Louisiana. Nola.com Please note that the facility is planning to collaborate with universities and community colleges to build a pool of qualified labor including manufacturing and STEM fields.

Despite obstacles, wind power in the southeastern United States is still rising

In addition to political obstacles, the region’s wind energy resources are not ideal, which may also explain why the Gulf State and the entire Southeast region are reluctant to adopt wind energy.

For onshore wind power, this obstacle can be overcome by building taller turbine towers. However, this will increase construction costs and weaken the ability of wind power to compete with conventional electricity. Complicating the problem is the low cost of conventional electricity in Louisiana and the rest of the Southeast.

These factors also have an impact on offshore development. The coast of Louisiana is not the best air duct along the Gulf of Mexico, but it does provide low-cost labor resources, and the relatively shallow waters of its coastline can also reduce construction costs.

Earlier this year, BOEM released the results of a detailed Gulf Coast wind study conducted by NREL, which laid the economic path for offshore development between all five states (BOEM has for the record funded this work).

In addition to NREL’s assessment of the 600 MW wind farm, the study has added many other details to the offshore wind power potential of the Gulf of Mexico, including the following tips:

“… when considering all states in the United States and only considering sites with an average wind speed greater than 7 meters per second (m/s) (15.7 miles per hour) [mph]) And areas with water depths less than 1,000 m (3,280 feet), three of the top four states with the highest offshore wind resource capacity are located within the GOM (Louisiana, Texas, and Florida). “

Clean technology A review of the Gulf of Mexico wind study in May, and pointed out that “NREL lists the shallow waters of the Gulf, lower average wave heights, and existing oil and gas infrastructure, which are useful for the development of various marine energy sources (including tides and currents, heat conversion, Wave power and hydrogen conversion, and wind turbines.”

“The potential for wind power is huge, beating 508 GW. According to NREL, this is twice the energy currently consumed by the five Gulf states.”

So, where will this excess energy go? On the one hand, as the climate continues to warm, the demand for air-conditioning in the region will rise. This does not necessarily mean that overall electricity demand will rise, but it may increase, especially if population growth in the region continues to accelerate.

Even if the demand for electricity drops, offshore wind energy in the bay can also adapt to the green hydrogen wave, where the electricity is used to “break down” hydrogen from the water. The United States is already investing funds in the global green hydrogen market, most likely focusing on the hydrogen production potential of offshore wind farms.

For the Gulf Coast countries, this may be a particularly fruitful result. Hydrogen has a wide range of industrial applications, and stakeholders in the petrochemical and oil refining industries have begun to arouse interest. Agriculture is another booming market for hydrogen, and it also has a strong influence in the southeastern United States.

By the way, this goes beyond the use of hydrogen in fuel cells.

As for where to leave Louisiana’s oil and gas stakeholders, it depends on how flexible they are.Last month, our friend came LNG insight It has recently been noted that at least one LNG company in the southeast is located in Georgia, Chart Industries (Chart Industries) has been seeking to adjust its natural gas liquefaction technology to produce liquid hydrogen for export markets.

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*Development story.

Image (cropped): BOEM’s offshore wind resources in the Gulf of Mexico through NREL.

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label: BOEM, US Department of Energy, Gulf of Mexico, John Bell Edwards, Louisiana, NREL, Texas

About the author

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technologies, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are often reposted on Reuters, Scientific American and many other websites. The opinions expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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