Tide Turns Toward US Gulf of Mexico Wind

Expanding the budding U.S. offshore wind sector has been a key cog in the Biden administration’s clean energy ambitions, which includes deploying 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

Only two wind farms are operating in U.S. federal waters off the East Coast—Block Island off Rhode Island and the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. (Source: Masha Basova/Shutterstock)

[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the September 2022 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine.]

An abundance of shallow-water resources with depths below 60 m, warmer climates and access to offshore supply chains with skilled workers bodes well for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico’s (GoM) future in offshore wind, experts say.

Add to this is the positive momentum being built by policymakers eager to diversify energy supplies. As a result, the GoM—home to oil rigs, marine life, shrimp boats, ships passing through and military activity—may be on its way to becoming the world’s next wind energy powerhouse.

That is if offshore wind players see beyond risks and pursue leases when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) offers acreage for development, a move that could come in early 2023.

Between now and then, there is plenty for stakeholders to think about including the weather. Specifically, can offshore wind turbines withstand a Category 5 hurricane that packs a wind speed of at least 157 mph and a potential storm surge greater than 20 ft?

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Velda Addison

Velda Addison is the senior editor of digital media for Hart Energy’s editorial team. She covers energy with a focus on renewables.