Offshore wind is definitely coming to the Gulf of Mexico

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) has identified two Wind Energy Areas (“WEAs”) in the Gulf of Mexico (“GoM”) to develop offshore wind farms. A lease sale is expected later this summer. One 546,000-acre WEA is located south of Galveston, Texas; the other is a 188,000-acre tract off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana. According to BOEM, the two WEAs have the potential to power 2.3 million and 799,000 homes, respectively, with clean energy generated by continuously renewable offshore wind.

Offshore wind promises various advantages over onshore wind farms, including stronger, more consistent, and less turbulent winds, and the use of substantially bigger towers and blades than onshore farms, resulting in more efficient and greater power generation; out-of-sight-and-sound facilities; the capacity to service large U.S. coastal populations; and the ability to avoid ecologically sensitive sites ashore. (See Onshore vs offshore wind energy: what’s the difference?). Moreover, according to some estimates, the GoM possesses the potential to generate almost 510 giga watts (“GW”) of offshore wind (“OSW”) annually. (See The Gulf of Mexico is poised for a wind energy boom. ‘The only question is when.’.) Additionally, given the mature oil and gas offshore infrastructure along and off the Gulf Coast states, that infrastructure arguably can and would adapt to build and maintain OSW farms in the GoM.

OSW will bring new jobs and continuously replenishing clean energy to both Texas and Louisiana.


Looking at average wind speed maps, the western half of the Gulf has the better locations. East of Louisiana, not so much.

Wait for the hurricane season.

The Captain

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Off shore wind in the Gulf looks interesting. But note that wind turbine manufacturers are reporting losses. They have been impacted especially hard by inflation. Apparently the long lead time of contracts and inadequate cost escalators made for problems.

Once inflation is tamed it may be easier. Until then contracts are a blank check. Finished cost is unknown. This may delay projects.


That may increase design/build costs and/or shorten the turbines’ lifespan.


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The engineers, etc have already considered it, but it’ll be interesting to see how well wind turbines survive severe hurricanes. I imagine there are already turbines in the North Sea… has anyone seen statistics on repair rates/costs in such environments?

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

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While I have my doubts about the viability of wind power, there seems to be money in it today. Having voiced my concerns, I am happy to see more structure that will act like reefs in the North Western Gulf of Mexico.

Due to currents, the silt and other stuff that flows into the Gulf from the rivers ends up to the west of the rivers. Reefs generally harbor sea life that filters the water and makes a nursery for sea life.


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You should consult with Texas, China, Brazil, France, Norway, Denmark, UK, Germany and many other countries and tell them about your doubts.

China was responsible for almost 70% of wind generation growth in 2021, followed by the United States at 14% and Brazil at 7%. The European Union, despite near-record capacity growth in 2020 and 2021, saw wind power generation fall by 3% in 2021 due to unusually long periods of low wind conditions. Globally, record generation growth was possible thanks to a 90% increase in capacity growth in 2020, which reached 113 GW, driven by policy deadlines in China and the United States. In 2021 however, wind additions decreased by one-third in China and by a quarter in the United States, partially offset by faster growth in other parts of the world, resulting in overall capacity growth reaching 94 GW.

About 22% of total wind capacity growth of 94 GW was delivered by offshore technology in 2021, the highest in history and three times the average of the previous five years. Such a high share resulted from a combination of record offshore capacity additions in China, which was responsible for 80% of offshore growth, and a slowdown in global onshore growth. While the rate of onshore wind capacity additions is expected to remain stable in the coming years, offshore systems are set to further accelerate in their existing markets, such as the European Union and China, as well as enter new countries such as the United States, Chinese Taipei and Japan.

Reaching annual wind electricity generation of about 8 000 TWh in 2030, as foreseen under the Net Zero Scenario, will require increased support for both onshore and offshore farms. Efforts should be focused on facilitating permitting, supporting the identification of suitable sites, decreasing costs and reducing project development timelines.


Double jeopardy!

What are doubts about doubts, Alex?

Exactly certainties.

Yep. Those hurricanes take out oil platforms in the gulf every time they come through. [eyeroll]

I have confidence that engineers and designers have already thought about hurricanes and are working appropriately.



And elsewhere off the coast, it looks like Interior Secretary Deb Haaland didn’t think to run things past the DoD first.
Pentagon Sounds Alarm Over Biden Plan for Offshore Wind Sites
The Pentagon is sounding alarms over Biden administration plans to advance offshore wind projects along the central Atlantic US coast, warning that almost all of the new terrain eyed for development conflicts with military operations.

Maps shared with industry stakeholders and seen by Bloomberg News show vast red areas that the Navy and Air Force have deemed “highly problematic,” covering prime real estate the Interior Department last year earmarked for leasing off the coasts of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.


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No the DOD was late in distributing its maps on areas they want to protect:

" The Pentagon has identified challenges operating around wind turbines that would be installed into the seabed in Atlantic waters near many of its operations and facilities, including North Carolina’s Dare County bombing range, used for training fighter jet crews, and a weapons station in Yorktown, Virginia. They are documented vividly on a map of Navy and Air Force concerns, dated Oct. 6, 2022, and circulated with industry and state stakeholders this month."

The ocean energy bureau expressed confidence it could resolve the dispute. The agency “has a long working relationship” with the Defense Department “and together we have successfully deconflicted and identified areas that have resulted in 27 leases along the Atlantic coast, covering over 2.1 million acres,” it said in its statement.

The maps have inspired a frenzy of calls and meetings as alarmed offshore wind advocates ask top administration officials to referee the dispute and broker a compromise.

Supporters argue the work is also critical to hitting the nation’s climate targets. Because of its massive scale and high generating capacity, offshore wind is viewed as a particularly important source of renewable power.

And now, offshore wind advocates are throwing the military’s own warnings back at the Pentagon. A shift to renewable power sources helps shrink US reliance on volatile commodities for energy, thereby strengthening national security, they say. The Defense Department and US intelligence agencies also have repeatedly cast climate change as a threat to American military assets and global security.

“Offshore wind can enhance national security by providing a clean and affordable source of energy protected from the whims of global commodity prices.”