United States

United States

Shell to collaborate with US tech firm on turbine for hurricane conditions

Shell New Energies and Gulf Wind Technology (GWT) will collaborate on a demonstrator wind turbine in the US capable of withstanding hurricane conditions as early as 2024.

The Gulf of Mexico is subject to regular hurricanes such as 'Ida' in August 2021 (Image credit: NASA/Natural Earth/Getty Images)
The Gulf of Mexico is subject to regular hurricanes such as 'Ida' in August 2021 (Image credit: NASA/Natural Earth/Getty Images)

The turbine will be designed to develop, test and implement optimised technical solutions for a Gulf of Mexico-specific wind turbine. 

The area is subject to strong hurricanes from early June to the end of November every year.

Shell has invested $10 million in its wind technology accelerator programme for the region with Louisiana-based GWT. 

The initiative will combine research and development of new technologies with what the companies say is the gulf’s first technology-focused education and training facility for workforce development for the offshore wind sector.

GWT is developing modified offshore wind turbine rotors specifically for the gulf, capable of withstanding category-five hurricanes. 

The company is also working on integrating rotors into a turbine optimised for the Gulf of Mexico.

Variable wind resources 

The gulf generates about 97% of all oil and gas production on the US outer continental shelf and has a large skilled workforce in the industry, which is based in the region.

“Wind resources in the gulf region are more variable than what you find on the east coast, where most of US offshore wind development activity is currently happening,” said James Martin, chief executive of GWT.

“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.”

Louisiana has an offshore wind target of 5GW by 2035. In February, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced the gulf’s first offshore wind sale, although a date has not yet been set.

State governor John Bel Edwards said: “I applaud Shell and Gulf Wind Technology for recognising the pivotal role Louisiana will play in the new energy economy, including in the offshore wind industry. With a skilled offshore workforce and our climate action plan in place, there is no better place to invest in offshore wind than Louisiana.”

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