RWE and Entergy will assess five key areas to define an optimal “route-to-market”: market demand for carbon-free energy for customers in Louisiana and Texas; resource economics; transmission analysis; economic impacts extending to direct and indirect job creation; and curriculums to prepare an offshore wind workforce.
"The existing Gulf of Mexico oil and gas supply chain, workforce, and port infrastructure represent unique advantages to a potential offshore wind hub," said Sam Eaton, chief executive of RWE Offshore Holdings.
"Working together with a local partner like Entergy can deepen our understanding of the next steps to strengthen these valuable assets and support a new, regional industry,” he added.
Through two offshore wind lease auctions in 2022, in the New York Bight and California tenders, RWE has secured sites that could host a total of around 3.9GW of offshore wind.
In October, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that it had mapped out 8.3GW of wind development areas in the Gulf.
Then in February, BOEM proposed the first lease sale of offshore wind blocks in the Gulf.
The three tracts consist of a 415km2 area off Lake Charles, Louisiana, and two tracts off Galveston, Texas, including one of 415km2 and a another of 39km2. Together, they would accommodate an estimated 3.6GW of installed wind capacity,
The Gulf of Mexico has high potential for offshore wind but it is swept by frequent hurricanes.
The region has shallow, warm waters, smaller than average wave heights, and is close to existing offshore oil and gas infrastructure, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which also estimates that the area could accommodate 508GW of offshore wind.
The region has been drawing big names. Recently, Shell New Energies announced it will collaborate with local firm Gulf Wind Technology on a demonstrator wind turbine capable of withstanding hurricanes.