Offshore Wind

Louisiana Wind Energy Week

Wind Turbine 1

While January’s Wind Energy Week may have marked the official kick-off of offshore wind in Louisiana, efforts to develop the sector have already been well underway, with several projects planned across federal and state waters. Last week, Xodus joined Greater New Orleans Inc, Southeastern Wind Coalition, and Pew Charitable Trusts in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where VP of US Renewables Hillary Bright and Head of US Industry Development Andy Logan provided level-setting for attendees and guided workshops on supply chain and workforce development. The weeklong conference laid the foundation for understanding how Louisiana can continue to capitalize on the offshore wind industry.

With six decades of experience in offshore drilling, Louisiana has long been one of the nation’s foremost energy producers. Now, the growing offshore wind industry provides an ideal opportunity for Louisiana to expand and diversify its offshore energy sector. Louisiana has emerged as an offshore wind pioneer in the Gulf of Mexico with a state target to procure 5 GW of capacity by 2035 with projects leased and under development in both state and federal waters.

During Wind Energy Week, Andy Logan reflected on the wealth of knowledge and expertise that the Louisiana supply chain has amassed in offshore wind, noting that “today isn’t day one for offshore wind in Louisiana. Many people are joining these conversations already holding valuable experience in the offshore wind sector.” Louisiana suppliers have already delivered offshore wind projects in the US, from the first offshore wind array at Block Island to both commercial-scale projects currently being installed in the Northeast. This includes providing engineering and design work, foundations, vessel manufacturing, and marine operations support. There is no doubt that the growth of the US offshore energy sector to include offshore wind power will create significant opportunities for Louisiana companies to supply new projects from the Gulf of Mexico to the East and West Coasts.

Hillary Bright also emphasized that the offshore wind industry provides an additive opportunity for the workforce skills developed by the existing offshore energy sector. She shared that “there is a strong adjacency for offshore oil and gas workers to engage in the offshore wind industry and continue the legacy of offshore energy in Louisiana.” From manufacturing to project development, the advancement of the US offshore wind industry will drive the creation of high quality, skilled jobs in Louisiana’s offshore energy sector.

Looking forward, connecting offshore wind power to energy end-users will help to sustain Louisiana’s industrial sector. Currently Louisiana demand for industrial hydrogen is growing, and generating hydrogen fuel from offshore wind power will enable the decarbonization of its industrial sector with minimal disruption. Furthermore, as the global economy seeks to decarbonize, Louisiana is strategically positioned to generate fuels like green hydrogen at a commercial scale for international export.

As the offshore wind industry continues to mature in the US, Louisiana has emerged as a potential lead supplier in the domestic supply chain. There is a compelling case for Louisiana to leverage its robust offshore manufacturing industry to continue supporting US offshore wind projects in the near term while the state builds up its project pipeline. Xodus look forward to returning to New Orleans in April for the 2024 IPF conference.

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