With the East Coast of the U.S. becoming saturated with planned offshore wind projects, momentum is picking up to kick-start development elsewhere — in particular, off the coasts of Louisiana and California.
In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, told his Climate Initiatives Task Force at its inaugural meeting Nov. 9 that he has asked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to establish a task force for offshore wind production in the Gulf of Mexico.
“This is not some pie-in-the-sky promise of economic opportunity,” Edwards said in an announcement. “We already have an emerging offshore wind energy industry, and Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas industry has played a key role in the early development of U.S. offshore wind energy in the Atlantic Ocean.”
Louisiana is shooting for carbon-free power by midcentury. A National Renewable Energy Laboratory study published in February found that the Gulf of Mexico, in part because of its shallow waters, has a resource potential for 508 GW of offshore wind.
The deep waters off the coast of California have limited wind power development there, but that has recently started to change with the development of floating wind turbines that are tethered to the sea floor.
EDP Renewables and Engie said Nov. 9 that they have formed a new joint venture, Ocean Winds North America. The new company is a 50% owner of the planned 804-MW Mayflower Wind Offshore Project, which just scored contracts with Massachusetts to supply the state with offshore wind power. Ocean Winds North America is also a partner in the planned Redwood Coast floating offshore wind project off the coast of Humboldt County, north of San Francisco. Engie said Ocean Winds North America will use its experience in floating offshore wind in Europe, which will help the Redwood Coast Offshore Wind Consortium, a public-private partnership seeking to develop the project, whose customers will include the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, a community choice aggregator established by local governments in Northern California.