Louisiana authorities approved the state’s first offshore wind agreements in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) as it aims to install 5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2035.

The Louisiana State Mineral and Energy Board approved an agreement with Cajun Wind, owned by Danish wind developer Vestas through its U.S. subsidiary Steelhead Americas, for 59,653 acres offshore Cameron Parish.

The state also approved Diamond Offshore Wind La.’s (DOW Wind) property agreement for 6,162 acres offshore Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes. DOW Wind is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp.’s Diamond Generating Corp.

“For generations, the state of Louisiana has been a leader in energy production, and offshore wind energy is the next chapter in that great history as we expand our options for clean energy production and open new avenues for the development of our state economy,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement.

offshore wind turbine
Louisiana is targeting 5 GW in offshore wind capacity by 2035. (Source: Shutterstock)

Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Secretary Tom Harris said the state broke new trails in negotiating the agreements.

Each agreement had different payment structures to the state. DOW Wind will contribute more in upfront costs and rental fees per acre to the state, while Cajun Wind had a lower per-acre fee for upfront and rental payments by higher royalty over the length of the agreement. DOW Wind paid $308,101 upfront, compared to Cajun Wind’s $357,923.

“I believe we have established that we can be flexible in how we set up payment structures while still ensuring that the state and its people are appropriately compensated for using our resources,” Harris said. “Legislation passed in recent years clarifying and codifying rules on leasing state offshore areas for wind energy projects helped Louisiana draw interest from operators.”

Louisiana is setting the pace for wind development in the Gulf of Mexico. If the state is successful in its ambitions of reaching 5 GW in offshore wind capacity by 2035, it will be enough to power more than 800,000 homes.

Though the agreements approved this week are in state waters, federal territory in the Gulf of Mexico are expected to be home to fixed-bottom offshore wind turbines.

Earlier this year, RWE was the lone high-bidder for a lease offshore Lake Charles in the first U.S. GoM offshore wind lease auction. The company, which placed a winning bid of $5.6 million, said its lease area has a capacity for up to 2 GW of wind power.

Here’s a look at other renewable energy news this week:


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Energy storage

Livent Acquires Stake in Subsidiary of Salton Sea Geothermal Developer ESM

U.S.-based lithium tech company Livent said Dec. 14 it acquired a minority stake in the parent company of ILiAD Technologies, a direct lithium extraction (DLE) firm aiming to commercialize its integrated lithium adsorption desorption technology platform.

ILiAD Technologies’ parent company is a subsidiary of EnergySource Minerals (ESM), which develops lithium projects in California’s Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area, according to a news release.

Livent said it will have the right to license ILiAD’s technology for planned deployment at Salar del Hombre Muerto, Livent’s lithium brine resources in Argentina. ILiAD’s technology can be used to recover high-purity lithium chloride from salars, produced water, geothermal brine operations and other lithium resources, the release stated.

“Our technology enhances the lithium extraction process with a fraction of the physical footprint of traditional operations, significantly less water use and lower carbon emissions than many other DLE solutions and no consumption of reagents,” ILiAD Technologies CEO Samuel Moore said. “This partnership represents a major step in our mission to deploy ILiAD for environmentally responsible lithium production across the world.”

Commercial utilization of ILiAD at Livent could begin as early as 2025, Livent said.


Everfuel, Hy24 Finalize Danish Deal for PtX Tender Award

The Everfuel and Hy24 joint venture said Dec. 15 it signed the final agreement with Danish authorities regarding its Power-to-X (PtX) tender award for green hydrogen production and supply.

The tender’s built-in subsidy, which runs for 10 years and is dependent on the project’s performance, will support operating expenses. The grant is valued at about $31 million, according to a news release.

“Echoing previous statements, the Danish PtX tender is a confirmation of the government's commitment to unfold the national hydrogen production and export potential,” said Jacob Krogsgaard, founder and CEO of Everfuel.

PtX projects essentially turn electricity into other projects. With green hydrogen, clean energy such as wind and solar are used to power electrolysis to create green hydrogen, which can be converted to products such as ammonia and methanol.

“The tender for large-scale green hydrogen production and supply is the first of its kind and supports Denmark’s power-to-X strategy to build upwards of 4-6 GW electrolyzer capacity,” the release stated.

hydrogen pipe
The U.K. is counting on hydrogen to help it reach emissions-reduction targets. (Source: Shutterstock)

UK to Back 11 Green Hydrogen Projects Under $2.5B Fund

Britain’s Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho announced on Dec. 14 that the U.K. is backing 11 projects to produce green hydrogen, as part of the government’s $2.5 billion funding to be committed over the next 15 years.

The 11 successful projects, with capacity totaling 125 megawatts (MW), were selected to be offered contracts under the government’s first hydrogen allocation round (HAR1), launched in July 2022.

Britain has a target to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and green hydrogen, made by using renewable energy to split water, is seen as one of the key sectors that will help achieve this target and provide cleaner fuel for energy intensive industries and transport.

“Hydrogen presents a massive economic opportunity for the U.K., unlocking over 12,000 jobs and up to 11 billion pounds of investment by 2030,” Coutinho said.

“Today’s announcement represents the largest number of commercial scale green hydrogen production projects announced at once anywhere in Europe,” she added.

In return for government support, the successful projects will invest over 400 million pounds in the next three years, generating more than 700 jobs in local communities across the U.K. and delivering 125 MW of new hydrogen for businesses.

The 11 projects have been agreed at a weighted average strike price of 241 pounds per megawatt hour (MWh).

Storegga and Scottish Power’s Cromarty hydrogen scheme is among the list of projects set to receive a guaranteed price for its output.


Masdar, Verbund to Explore Large-scale Green Hydrogen Production


Standard Solar Acquires Texas Solar Project from EDF Renewables

standard solar acquires texas solar project
(Source: Shutterstock)

Maryland-based Standard Solar said Dec. 12 it acquired the 9.9-MW Bluebonnet behind-the-meter solar project from EDF Renewables North America, marking its entry to the Texas renewable market.

Located in McGregor, Texas, southwest of Waco, the Bluebonnet project is expected to be complete in second-quarter 2024. During construction, EDF Renewables’ Distribution-Scale Power team will continue to serve as EPC contractor, according to the news release.

The greenfield project will feature bifacial modules on single-axis trackers, providing about 25,000 MWh of clean energy annually.

“This marks the fourth collaboration between Standard Solar and EDF Renewables in the past 2-3 years, including projects such as Lawsbrook, Knox and Lehigh University,” Eric Partyka, director of business development for Standard Solar, said in the release.

Standard said the project will power part of an industrial process load for industrial gases company Messer Americas in Texas. The facility will mark the first time a direct connect solar energy system has mostly powered an air separation unit, according to Chris Ebeling, executive vice president of sales and marketing, for Messer Americas’ U.S. bulk operations.

With the acquisition, Standard now operates in 23 states.

TotalEnergies Starts Construction of Solar Farm in South Africa

France’s TotalEnergies and partners started constructing a 216-MW solar farm with a 500 MWh battery storage system in South Africa, according to a Dec. 15 news release.

The site, located in the Northern Cape province, will provide more than 400 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year of renewable electricity over 20 years to the South African national grid. The storage system will also provide Eskom, the national utility, with 75 MW of dispatchable power, TotalEnergies said in a news release. The project is expected to begin operating in 2025.

“Thanks to its innovative hybrid design, it will enable us to supply continuous green electricity over a longer period and beyond the hours of sunshine,” Vincent Stoquart, senior vice president of renewables for TotalEnergies, said in the release. “This project will not only contribute to the country’s energy transition, but also to strengthening the resilience of its power system.”

The project is being developed by TotalEnergies and partners Hydra Storage Holding and Reatile Renewables.


Eyes Central Atlantic Wind Lease Sale

Central Atlantic lease sale
Highlighted are the proposed wind lease sale areas in the Central Atlantic. (Source: BOEM)

The Biden administration said Dec. 11 it is proposing an offshore wind lease sale in the Central Atlantic, offering development rights across nearly 278,000 acres with the potential to power more than 2.2 million homes.

The proposal, which comes amid efforts to boost offshore wind capacity to 30 GW by 2030, includes one area covering 101,443 acres offshore Delaware and Maryland and a 176,505-acre area offshore Virginia, the U.S. Interior Department said in a news release. The proposal also comes as the offshore wind industry grapples with higher costs and supply chain constraints.

“Since the start of our administration, the Department of the Interior has approved the nation’s first six commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Today’s announcement is another step forward in the Biden-Harris administration’s pursuit of a clean energy future,”

So far, the U.S. has held four offshore wind lease auctions during the current administration, including offshore New York, in the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. The record-setting New York Bight lease sale brought in $4.4 billion in winning bids from six companies in February 2022. The nation’s first offshore wind sale in Pacific Ocean sale in December 2022 brought in more than $757 million in winning bids for five lease areas; however, the first-ever federal wind auction in the Gulf of Mexico ended with only one winning bid. The single high bid was for $5.6 million.

The Interior Department said it will get comments on the proposed Central Atlantic sale during a 60-day public comment period, which begins following publication of the proposed sale notice in the Federal Register. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is also seeking feedback on bidding credits to bidders involving workforce training programs, the domestic offshore wind supply chain and a fisheries compensatory mitigation fund.

Additional areas offshore Maryland are also being considered for future leasing, the BOEM announced separately. Identified acreage will be analyzed further and considered as a wind energy area for possible inclusion in a wind lease sale as early as 2025, BOEM said.

Sarens Lands Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Farm Job

Heavy lifting company Sarens has been commissioned by Virginia International Terminals to receive and load out monopiles, jackets and transition pieces for Dominion Energy’s 176-turbine Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, according to a news release.

The job is expected to last until 2025. Construction of the 2.6-GW wind farm is expected to be complete in 2026.

In October, the Sarens team unloaded the project’s first eight monopiles from shipping saddles on the Sun Shine vessel after they arrived at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal from Rostock in Germany. The monopiles were put in temporary storage before they are moved to their final destination.

When complete, the wind farm is expected to provide renewable energy to as many as 660,000 customers at peak output, according to Dominion.


Seven Companies Join Halliburton Labs

Halliburton Labs, a clean technology accelerator program that brings together entrepreneurs, academics and investors, has welcomed seven more startups.

The subsidiary of Halliburton Co. said Dec. 13 that Airovation Technologies, Ayrton Energy, Cache Energy, CENS, Disa Technologies, Marel Power Solutions and XtraLit have joined its collaborative environment.

“We are pleased to welcome these promising energy startups and provide customized support to help them achieve their specific priorities, accelerate commercialization and increase valuation,” Halliburton Labs Managing Director Dale Winger said in a news release. “Our experienced practitioners and network will help these companies use their time and capital efficiently.”

The companies specialize in a variety of clean energy technologies that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Airovation Technologies’ proprietary carbon mineralization technology targets hard-to-abate industries in efforts to reduce emissions with carbon capture and utilization. Ayrton Energy is developing liquid organic hydrogen carrier storage technology to enable long-distance transport of hydrogen without losses and pipeline corrosion.

Cache Energy is developing a long duration energy storage solution that scales to inter-seasonal durations, through a low-cost solid fuel, the release stated. CENS develops enhanced dry dispersion technology that enables high energy density, high power and improved cycle performance in lithium-ion batteries.

Disa utilizes patented minerals liberation technology to more efficiently isolate target minerals and mitigate environmental impacts to its users, according to the news release. Electrification innovator Marel Power Solutions offers novel power-stack technology. Israel-based XtraLit develops a technology for direct lithium extraction from brines.

The selections are “part of Halliburton Labs’ ambition to advance energy and climate innovation and help early-stage companies by contributing expertise, connections, facilities, and more to help achieve strategic scaling milestones,” Halliburton said in its press release.

Hart Energy Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.