Green Technology

The Subsequent Massive Offshore Wind Winners Are Texas And Louisiana

The Inside Division has simply tapped Texas and Louisiana for offshore wind growth, which at first look looks like an train in futility. All issues being equal, coverage makers within the two “pink” states can be anticipated to slow-walk the offshore lease course of. Nonetheless, the period of  hand sitting could also be over. States with out fossil sources are jockeying for place within the new hydrogen economic system, and each Texas and Louisiana must scramble to maintain up with them.

The US Offshore Wind Race Is On…

The US has been achingly gradual to develop its offshore wind sources in comparison with different nations, though the Atlantic coast states  must be first in line. Apart from some challenges off the coast of Maine, the Atlantic states are blessed with all the appropriate elements: comparatively shallow waters, excessive coastal populations, copious inland transportation networks, and present seaports.

Efforts to jolt the Atlantic states into motion throughout the Obama presidency fell flat, for causes that we’ll not go into right here, besides to say that the same old suspects have been concerned.

For those who’re pondering fossil power stakeholders had one thing to do with that, you’re partly right. As well as, there was no streamlined, standardized federal leasing course of for offshore wind areas throughout the Obama years. That additionally contributed to a  logjam.

Now there’s a commonplace federal leasing course of. The Inside Division’s Bureau of Ocean Power Administration nice tuned the method throughout the Trump years, regardless of the previous President’s well-known animosity in direction of wind energy typically, and offshore wind specifically.

BOEM has additionally begun leasing areas off the Pacific coast, with an help from new floating turbine know-how that additionally didn’t exist throughout the Obama administration.

…Aided & Abetted By The Inexperienced Hydrogen Race

Additionally, there was no inexperienced hydrogen trade to talk of throughout the Obama years. Now everyone seems to be speaking about inexperienced hydrogen. Made attainable by the low value of renewable power, inexperienced hydrogen primarily refers to hydrogen produced by electrolysis methods, which apply {an electrical} present to push hydrogen gasoline from plain water (biogas and different renewable sources are additionally rising, to a lesser extent).

The US Division of Power added gasoline to the inexperienced hydrogen fireplace this 12 months, when it introduced a aggressive program aimed toward establishing a community of regional hydrogen hubs across the nation.

The regional ingredient is a key a part of this system. The regional hub format encourages states to kind consortia for hydrogen manufacturing, storage, transportation and finish use. Hydrogen from pure gasoline is a part of this system as proscribed by federal regulation, although the principle emphasis is on water and different renewable sources.

Offshore wind is already taking part in a major function in electrolysis finish of the inexperienced hydrogen trade, and that’s the place issues get fascinating.

The fossil-free Atlantic coast states of New York and New Jersey have already put apart their bridge-and-tunnel rivalry to advertise offshore wind growth as a joint endeavor. This 12 months the 2 additionally states connected with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine to compete for a share of the hydrogen hub pie.

Not one of the states on this consortium have recoverable fossil power sources of any important measurement, both as a result of they don’t exist or as a result of voters and coverage makers have come out towards fossil initiatives with overwhelming power.

Why Fossil States Should Pursue Offshore Wind, Now

The one-two punch of offshore wind and inexperienced hydrogen is a major problem to fossil-sourced hydrogen networks elsewhere within the US.

Underneath this new power state of affairs, legacy fossil states like Texas and Louisiana are virtually compelled to ratchet up their renewable power profiles, in the event that they wish to preserve a hand within the renewable hydrogen economic system.

By way of offshore wind, the setup for Texas and Louisiana is lower than perfect. Within the fall of 2020, the Power Division’s Nationwide Renewable Power Laboratory assessed the potential to develop a viable offshore wind trade within the Gulf of Mexico. Not one of the Gulf states fared significantly effectively, primarily as a result of wind sources are comparatively weak within the Gulf of Mexico.

Nonetheless, Louisiana obtained a passing grade, and the state’s governor has already been assembling a activity power to plan for offshore wind. As well as, the state’s fertilizer trade can be prepping for a pivot into the associated subject of inexperienced ammonia.

Final 12 months, Texas additionally started exploring the potential for a inexperienced hydrogen community leveraging onshore wind farms in addition to photo voltaic arrays and different property.

Prepared Or Not, Right here Come The Offshore Wind Leases

Offshore wind was not among the many property highlighted by Texas stakeholders within the preliminary talks, however the emergence of an electrofuels trade in Texas might assist brighten the image for seagoing generators.

BOEM, for one, just isn’t ready for Texas coverage makers to return round. On October 31, the company introduced that it has designated two new Wind Power Areas within the Gulf of Mexico, with the mixed potential to supply sufficient clear wind power to energy practically 3 million properties.

“The primary WEA is positioned roughly 24 nautical miles (nm) off the coast of Galveston, TX. The realm totals 508,265 acres and has the potential to energy 2.1 million properties,” BOEM defined. “The second WEA is positioned roughly 56 nm off the coast of Lake Charles, LA. The realm totals 174,275 acres and has the potential to energy over 740,000 properties.”

“Underneath President Biden’s management, the administration has accepted the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind initiatives, held record-breaking lease gross sales, and ushered in billions of {dollars} in personal funding,” the company enthused.

“BOEM makes use of its renewable power aggressive leasing course of to determine the offshore areas that seem best suited for growth, bearing in mind potential impacts to sources and ocean customers,” BOEM additionally notes, including that the Protection Division and Coast Guard helped to find out the scale of the 2 areas

“These two wind power areas signify thrilling progress towards having the primary offshore wind lease sale within the Gulf of Mexico, the place there’s a mature trade base and the know advance power growth within the OCS,” emphasised BOEM Director Amanda Lefton.

Issues appear to be shifting alongside at a speedy clip, so keep tuned. Subsequent steps embrace a 60-day public remark interval following a proper Proposed Sale Discover, which might prolong the method into early subsequent 12 months.

No point out of Texas or Louisiana is full with out mentioning that lawmakers within the two states have labored diligently to make sure that ladies, women, and different pregnancy-capable individuals are endowed with all of the rights and privileges of human Mason jars. Maybe that may change after Election Day 2022.

Picture: Offshore wind power areas for Texas and Louisiana (credit score: BOEM)

Observe me on Twitter (for now) @TinaMCasey.


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