Wind turbine rotor firm Gulf Wind Technology and Shell New Energies US will together develop hurricane-proof wind turbines unique to the Gulf of Mexico.
Shell has committed $10 million to create the Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator program with Louisiana-based Gulf Wind Technology, which specializes in developing hurricane-proof wind turbine technology.
The accelerator program aims to develop, test, and deploy a Gulf of Mexico-specific demonstrator turbine as early as 2024.
In addition to its R&D work on the hurricane-resistant turbine, the Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator will also launch an education and training facility to develop a workforce for the region’s new offshore wind industry.
James Martin, CEO of Gulf Wind Technology, explains why the Gulf of Mexico requires a unique approach when it comes to the development of its offshore wind industry:
Wind resources in the Gulf region are more variable than what you find on the East Coast where most US offshore wind development activity is currently happening.
Seasonal hurricane conditions and moderate average wind speeds create a situation that requires a novel approach to the application of technology and the framework in which it is both developed and demonstrated. The program has been specifically created to address and fulfil this need and enable next steps for the region and for the industry.
Louisiana has a 5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind target by 2035, and late last month, the US Department of the Interior proposed the first-ever offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico.
That followed the Biden administration’s announcement in July 2022 that it would pursue the development of offshore wind energy in the Gulf, which is already a hub for oil and gas production.
The Proposed Sale Notice announced includes a 102,480-acre area offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana, and two areas offshore Galveston, Texas, one comprising 102,480 acres and the other comprising 96,786 acres. These areas have the potential to power almost 1.3 million homes with clean energy.
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