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Thursday, December 2, 2021

The oil-rich Gulf of Mexico wind direction renewable energy


For decades, the Gulf of Mexico has been a sea of ​​huge oil platforms. The Biden administration now hopes to install wind turbines there.

U.S. Department of the Interior this week visit The company expressed interest in leasing 30 million acres in waters near Louisiana and Texas as part of an effort to build 30 GW of carbon-free offshore wind power on and downstream of the U.S. coastline by 2030.

This will be a whole new look for the Gulf, where offshore oil wells date back to the 1930s and now account for 15% of U.S. oil production. Like the North Sea in Europe, new wind energy expenditures can offset the impact of the decline in investment in large-scale oil projects.

Federal Ocean Energy Administration argue The oil and gas industry “is likely to take the lead,” noting that some oil giants — all of which are located in Europe — have set a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. France’s TotalEnergies and Royal Dutch Shell are among them that have shown early interest in a potential tender for wind power development rights.

The Democratic Governor of Louisiana, John Bell Edwards, said that Louisiana’s long-term experience in oil and gas has given it “a strategic advantage in the development of offshore wind power in the Gulf of Mexico”.Federal government Imagine Lease sales will be carried out in the Gulf region by the beginning of 2023.

However, in the wind development queue, Gulf projects are likely to lag behind projects on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

One of the reasons is weaker wind speeds in the Gulf region and lower average electricity prices in Texas and Louisiana. A report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that unless costs continue to fall, “the estimated cost of using offshore wind power at all GOM sites to generate electricity is higher than the required revenue opportunity”.

A map showing wind speeds at an altitude of 90 meters (kmh) around the coast of the United States, including an illustration of the Gulf of Mexico, showing the location of potential wind leases in the Gulf of Mexico

Then came the hurricane in the Gulf. NREL stated that there is a “gap” in turbine engineering technology in the face of extremely high winds, but it is not insurmountable.

National policies also benefit the east and west coasts of the United States. Republican state officials in Texas have been silent about the prospect of coastal wind turbines. Texas is an oil and gas powerhouse and also has the largest onshore wind energy industry in the United States. Governor Greg Abbott told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “Pound sand“Responding to Texas’s proposal that it should further embrace its clean energy potential.

Lucas Stavole, an analyst at consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, said that given that the state has the largest electricity market in the country, having “more Texas involvement” will enable development Business became “a more interesting area.”

At the same time, New York and other eastern states have set clean energy targets and subsidies for the emerging offshore wind power industry, and have approved projects.

ClearView Energy vice president Timothy Fox (Timothy Fox) said: “If you are a project developer, now a state with renewable energy directives and specific targets for offshore wind power will be more attractive than the Gulf of Mexico.”, Consulting company. He added that the Biden government received a “tepid” response when it first solicited interest in Gulf Wind Power leases earlier this year.

Despite this, some industry executives are still optimistic that the wind power industry will eventually take root in the US offshore oil center.

“TotalEnergies is very pleased to participate in the future leasing of the Gulf of Mexico wind energy area,” the company’s U.S. offshore wind power business leader David Furen wrote in a letter to the regulator. “Our expertise in offshore operations and maintenance will make offshore wind power successful.”

Shell’s Americas offshore wind manager James Cotter said at a meeting in August that the Gulf “is already an energy basin, and it will remain in this state” with the opportunity to reuse aging petroleum infrastructure for wind energy. project. Shell has one of the largest offshore oil assets network in the region.

Chevron’s Jack/St Malo oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Wind turbines will be a whole new look for the Gulf, where offshore oil wells date back to the 1930s © Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

David Hardy, the North American president of Orsted, the world’s largest offshore wind power developer, is developing two projects in the northeastern United States. He said at a congressional hearing in October that the Gulf could become a viable area for wind power generation.

“The wind speed there is lower, but the turbine technology continues to develop, just like onshore wind energy,” he said. “The original turbines were developed for the higher wind speeds in the North Sea, but as we move to lower wind speeds, turbine technology has also evolved… Can be built to support those low-speed winds.”

Hardy pointed out that even without new wind farms, the Gulf region’s deep experience in the offshore oil industry has made it an important part of the emerging domestic supply chain of US offshore wind farms. Shipyards and manufacturers that usually produce large oil platforms are now assembling offshore wind power kits.

Gulf Island Fabrication in Louisiana laid the foundation for Orsted’s Block Island wind power project near Rhode Island. Richard Heo, chief executive officer of Gulf Island, said this work is part of a strategic shift aimed at reducing reliance on offshore oil operations.

Dominion, a power company based in Virginia, has ordered a wind turbine installation vessel in Brownsville, Texas, which is a coastal hub for the offshore oil industry.

Wood Mackenzie analyst Stavole said it was only a matter of time before the wind turbines themselves entered the bay.

“The bottom line is, let’s see how these offshore farms on the east coast really take off in the next few years, and then you start looking for less than ideal areas,” he said. “It will happen at some point-but will it happen in 2030 or 2040? We will wait and see. Advancing leasing is undoubtedly a positive sign.”





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