Gulf of Mexico Ripe for Wind Energy

May 6, 2020

Potential for 508 GW of wind capacity in Gulf of Mexico – as offshore wind prices continue to drop into highly competitive ranges.
As the Oil/gas industry remains in a Coronavirus coma, goes without saying that the skillsets of offshore oil workers translate very nicely to the offshore wind sector.

508 GW, btw, is about half of current total US generation capacity.

Offshore wind has been hailed as the most favourable renewable technology for development in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) with potential for up to 508GW of capacity, according to new data.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Gulf of Mexico OCS office have published two new reports on renewable energy in the region.

The “Offshore Renewable Energy Technologies in the Gulf of Mexico” study analysed different offshore renewable energy technologies to determine which are best suited for development in GOM.

The renewable energy resources evaluated included wind, wave, tidal, current, solar, deepwater source cooling, and hydrogen. 

Offshore wind showed the greatest resource potential and is the most mature technology of those analysed for the region, the report said.

Offshore wind had the largest quantity of “technical resource potential” covering all GOM states, with Texas and Louisiana being the highest.

The study determined offshore wind as the technology with the “highest readiness levels” based on cost projections.

BOEM also analysed of the economic feasibility of offshore wind for selected sites in GOM.

The report titled “Offshore Wind in the US Gulf of Mexico: Regional Economic Modelling and Site-Specific Analyses” indicated that a single offshore wind project could support approximately 4,470 jobs and $445 million in GDP during construction, as well as an ongoing 150 jobs and $14 million annually from operation and maintenance labour, materials, and services. 

The results were based on a 600MW project at a reference site with a commercial operation date of 2030. 

The data gleaned from these studies will inform federal, state, and local strategic renewable energy planning over the next decade, BOEM said.

14 Responses to “Gulf of Mexico Ripe for Wind Energy”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    I’m really shocked at the seeming failure of wave energy. The power of a wave of water is immense and waves themselves are large. A single wave can raise a large, heavy buoyant platform several feet into the air. That’s a lot of work being done. The same platform potentially does work as it falls back down.

    How can we not be able to devise a machine to harvest this energy? Just flabbergasted.

    • tildeb Says:

      Imagine the energy output from a hundred billion pistons rising and falling with constant wave action globally?

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Ocean Engineering is an expensive, narrow technical specialty that has to deal with the harsh environment of the sea (weather, barnacles, salt water). I’d expect wave energy development coming from an established large company, like drilling platform makers or offshore wind developers.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        I envision smaller scale machines along coastlines. Either a tower grounded on ocean floor, or a simple cantilevered arm anchored on shore with a heavy but buoyant platform that would drive lever(s) when it moved both up and down.

        The actual mechanics would be above water.

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      World has been working on it for over half century. Suspect the physical forces just destroy the machinery too quickly.

  2. grindupbaker Says:

    Factoid before I forget again. Using sunshine to make energy (any method) lowers Earth’s Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST) by 0.10 degrees by direct heating reduction (matter—->energy, C+O2——>CO2 exothermic) if 100% of present was from sunshine. That’s the worthless Guy McPherson’s “humanity is a heat engine” cheesy Branding meme. Humanity certainly is a heat engine but the amount is presently 0.10 degrees +GMST for a 100% matter—->energy, C+O2——>CO2 exothermic mix. That’s at 31% overall efficiency I grabbed some place so just scale 0.10 degrees if you find a better global efficiency value.

    • grindupbaker Says:

      Hang on it needs to leave 0.08 degrees of the 0.10 degrees for the electrical wiring resistance heating loss.

    • John Oneill Says:

      That’s incorrect on several levels. Firstly, Global Mean Surface Temperature is an average for the whole earth, so you’d have to quantify how much solar you were installing ( and it would need to be a hell of a lot ) before you start calculating how much the needle budged. Secondly, solar panels don’t just turn sunlight into electricity. They’re mostly between 15 and 20% efficient, so upwards of eighty percent of the incident light is either reflected or absorbed. Panels are black – low albedo – so mostly it’s absorbed, as heat. If the panels are installed on a surface which previously had a lower albedo, such as desert (~0.4 ) the local temperature should rise. If the use of solar power reduces the carbon emissions from burning gas and coal, and the leaking of methane, that could slow the global heat accumulation. In the six years after the Fukushima accident, Japan installed about 50 Gigawatts of solar – more than the ~40 GW of nuclear which had previously provided around a quarter of the country’s power. However, since the nuclear plants had been running at about 90% of their capacity, and solar can only manage about 20%, the solar contribution was only about 5% of total power production.

      • Gingerbaker Says:


        Surely the GW rating of solar takes the capacity factor into account.

        • Gingerbaker Says:

          And solar does better than 20%:

          Solar cap. factor US

          • John Oneill Says:

            ‘ Solar photovoltaic capacity factor is based on the plant’s electricity generation as a percentage of its summer capacity value for plants with a full-year of operation, as expressed in terms of alternating current (AC) power.’
            For any other power source, the capacity factor is based on year’s output in watt/hours, divided by the rated maximum capacity multiplied by 8760 ( for hours in a non leap year ). Solar seems to be getting a free pass for not working at night, and is only penalised for not working much in winter or cloudy weather either.
            In 2019, 99.7 GW of nuclear made 809 Terawatt/hours of power – 8.1 terawatts per gigawatt installed. 64.4 GW of solar made 72 TW/h – 1.1 per GW installed. (That figure would be worse, except I’ve used the installed capacity figure for the start of the year, ignoring the extra 13.3 GW installed during it.)
            Capacity factors from the EIA for the highest demand months of winter, December and January, in 2019 for nuclear were 99.7% and 100.1%. For solar it’s 13.1% and 15.5%. In June, July and August, with maximum demand for air conditioning, nuclear managed 96.7, 98.1, and 97.8 %. Solar averaged 32 % – but of course much of that was delivered before the evening demand peak ended, so the gas turbines had to scramble to flatten the ‘duck curve’.

      • grindupbaker Says:

        I’m not managing to find any logic in your complete non sequitor to my precisely-correct (well, withim +/- 15% anyway) comment. Your “so you’d have to quantify how much solar you were installing” & “Secondly, solar panels don’t just turn sunlight into electricity” is irrelevant gibberish. I typed “Using sunshine to make energy (any method)” and I typed nothing whatsoever about using solar panels. Likewise, your entire comment, an eclectic mix of irrelevant, stupid babbling, has nothing whatsoever to do with my comment. If you want to discuss some topic then simply start a thread about it here on any climatecrocks post but don’t pretend to be responding to my comments if you aren’t you half wit. All you do is inform anybody who has a basic British grammar school & universiy education or better that you haven’t even the foggiest clue about BASIC thermodynamics you utter clown. If it’s that you know that almost all followers of climatecrocks also don’t have the foggiest clue about BASIC thermodynamics, which is the entire topic of Earth’s energy balance global warming (I don’t have that information) then perhaps you’re being clever to sloganeer to the ignorant but it’s pretty sleazy behaviour. I’m getting pretty sick of non-responses of totally-ignorant idiots like you. Either get yourself a basic science education so that you can reposnd to my science with a comment of some value or don’t respond to it you worthless stupid half wit.

  3. grindupbaker Says:

    Hang on it needs to leave 0.008 degrees of the 0.10 degrees for the electrical wiring resistance heating loss.

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