The Gulf of Mexico could be the potential home for wind energy infrastructure.
The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Tuesday it plans to assess potential opportunities to push clean energy projects in the area. This evaluation of the gulf coast for potential wind projects is a part of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to create thousands of jobs and clean energy in the next decade.
These projects could mean new jobs in Acadiana.
KATC spoke to a man who’s been in the energy industry for more than 50 years. Herman J. Schellstede says, rather than competing against each other, the oil and gas industry and the wind energy industry could work in unison.
“By putting the two together we really have a beautiful combination,” he said.
He is the owner and operator of a New Iberia-based company serving the gas and oil field industry in the gulf. In the early 2000’s his interest steered towards wind energy. That’s when he realized there could be a relationship between the two industries.
Some people might see the unpredictable gulf weather as a drawback for the wind energy industry, but he says that’s already taken care of.
“We’ve built hurricane platforms for hurricane surge, category 5,” he said. “In early years, they really were not adequate, but today, we have very good structures out there. We’ve designed the towers, blades, etc., to be in harmony with the platforms.”
Another sign of harmony, the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association supports this move.
The president of LOGA, Mike Moncla, says there is no threat from wind industry towards oil and gas energy production. He says LOGA backs any type of energy production, in an effort to provide “an abundance of energy.”
Plus, he says an investment into energy is an investment worthwhile.
"If wind can make money and return on investment for its investors, then we're all about that," said Moncla.
Moncla shared that a member of LOGA is looking into launching projects in the wind industry.
The Biden administration hopes to create more than 70 thousand jobs in this industry.
“We can build everything here in Louisiana and Texas, so it’s not just the work offshore, it’s actual construction of all the machinery, including the blades, generators, towers, all that is necessary, and the transportation to go out and install so this is truly an American project,” said Schellstede.
Under this new plan, they hope to generate 30 gigawatts through offshore wind energy by 2030. That's enough power for more than 3 billion LED lightbulbs.
On Friday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will publish a request for interest – opening a 45-day public comment period to get insight on how competitive the field will be and potential environmental consequences. They’ll use this data to determine the next steps in the leasing process in the gulf, according to a press release.
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