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HomeWales WeatherThe Texas Offshore Wind Fable – Watts Up With That?

The Texas Offshore Wind Fable – Watts Up With That?

Visitor “Not even mistaken!” by David Middleton

Offshore wind farm proposed for Gulf of Mexico close to Galveston might energy 2.3 million houses
Two proposed wind farms off the Texas and Louisiana coasts would be a part of offshore oil drilling rigs within the gulf because the Biden administration tries to spice up the nation’s clear power provide.


HOUSTON — The Gulf of Mexico’s first offshore wind farms will likely be developed off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, the Biden administration introduced Wednesday, and collectively they’re projected to provide sufficient power to energy round 3 million houses.

The wind farms doubtless won’t be up and operating for years, power analysts and the state’s grid operator mentioned, however the announcement from the U.S. Inside Division is step one in ramping up offshore wind power in the US, which has lagged behind that of Europe and China. The one two working offshore wind power farms within the U.S. are off the coasts of Rhode Island and Virginia, which collectively produce 42 megawatts of electrical energy — sufficient to energy fewer than 2,500 houses.

One of many new wind tasks introduced Wednesday will likely be developed 24 nautical miles off the coast of Galveston, masking a complete of 546,645 acres — greater than town of Houston — with the potential to energy 2.3 million houses, in keeping with the U.S. Inside Division’s Bureau of Ocean Vitality Administration. The opposite mission will likely be developed close to Port Arthur, about 56 nautical miles off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana, masking 188,023 acres with the potential to energy 799,000 houses.


Texas Tribune

The reporting of this story is so dangerous that it’s not even mistaken! No Gulf of Mexico (GOM) offshore wind farms or precise tasks have been introduced by anyone. The Division of the Inside introduced that it was starting the method of figuring out leasing areas within the GOM, most fitted for the event of offshore wind sources. They are going to then maintain lease gross sales in these areas. After which the excessive bidders (if there are any) will start the method of designing, allowing and constructing offshore wind farms.

Division of the Inside Pronounces Subsequent Steps for Offshore Wind Vitality in Gulf of Mexico
Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2022

NEW ORLEANS — In response to the President’s name to advance offshore wind growth and speed up the transition to a clear power financial system, the Division of the Inside at present introduced subsequent steps to carry the chance of offshore wind power to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Bureau of Ocean Vitality Administration (BOEM) works underneath its renewable power aggressive leasing course of to establish the offshore areas that seem most fitted for growth, making an allowance for potential impacts to sources and ocean customers. BOEM is in search of public enter on the identification of two potential wind power areas (WEAs) within the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

“President Biden has referred to as on us to deal with the local weather disaster and Inside is taking that problem to coronary heart. The promise of renewable power is plain, as is the momentum for a clear power transition,” mentioned Secretary of the Inside Deb Haaland. “At present’s announcement within the Gulf of Mexico is one among many commitments we’re making to spur innovation, create good-paying jobs, and collaborate with states, Tribes and communities to make sure that we’re doing every part we will to look after our Earth.”

Over the previous 12 months, the Biden-Harris administration has launched the American offshore wind trade by approving and celebrating the groundbreaking of the nation’s first two commercial-scale, offshore wind tasks in federal waters. By 2025, the Inside Division plans to probably maintain as much as 5 further offshore lease gross sales and full the evaluation of at the very least 16 plans to assemble and function business, offshore wind power services, which might signify greater than 22 gigawatts of unpolluted power for the nation.

“BOEM used probably the most present scientific information to research 30 million acres within the Name Space to search out the very best areas for wind power growth. We’re invested in working in partnership with states and communities to search out areas that keep away from or decrease conflicts with different ocean makes use of and marine life within the Gulf of Mexico,” mentioned BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “We’re dedicated to a clear, inclusive and data-driven course of that ensures all ocean customers flourish within the Gulf.”

The primary draft WEA is positioned roughly 24 nautical miles (nm) off the coast of Galveston, TX. The realm for evaluation totals 546,645 acres and has the potential to energy 2.3 million houses with clear wind power. The second draft WEA is positioned roughly 56 nm off the coast of Lake Charles, LA. The realm for evaluation totals 188,023 acres and has the potential to energy 799,000 houses.

The 2 draft WEAs signify a subset of the unique 30-million acre Gulf of Mexico Name Space that the Division of the Inside introduced for public remark in October 2021. The draft WEAs had been diminished to keep away from potential impacts on different ocean makes use of and sources, equivalent to business and leisure fishing, maritime navigation, navy actions, marine protected species, avian species, and current infrastructure.

Public feedback on the draft WEAs will likely be accepted for 30 days starting July 20, 2022.

Along with the draft WEAs, BOEM has ready a draft environmental evaluation (EA) masking the complete name space to contemplate the potential impacts from website characterization (e.g., marine mammal surveys) and website evaluation (e.g., set up of meteorological buoys) actions anticipated to happen following lease issuance. The EA evaluation will inform potential lease stipulations vital to deal with recognized environmental impacts related to offshore wind leasing actions. Public feedback on the draft EA will even be accepted for 30 days starting July 20, 2022.

In the course of the remark interval, BOEM will maintain two digital public conferences the place the general public can be taught extra in regards to the environmental evaluation course of. There will even be a chance for members to ask questions and supply feedback on the draft EA.

Details about the way to register for the general public conferences, and directions for the way to submit questions and feedback might be on BOEM’s Gulf of Mexico Renewable Vitality webpage.


U.S. Division of the Inside

How do journalists get this silly?

One of many new wind tasks introduced Wednesday will likely be developed 24 nautical miles off the coast of Galveston, masking a complete of 546,645 acres — greater than town of Houston — with the potential to energy 2.3 million houses, in keeping with the U.S. Inside Division’s Bureau of Ocean Vitality Administration.

Texas Tribune

The wind “mission” masking 546,645 acres 24 NM offshore of Galveston will not be a mission. It’s the complete leasing space (Wind Vitality Space, WEA) being proposed.

The primary draft WEA is positioned roughly 24 nautical miles (nm) off the coast of Galveston, TX. The realm for evaluation totals 546,645 acres and has the potential to energy 2.3 million houses with clear wind power. 

U.S. Division of the Inside

Assuming the complete WEA was leased and developed to the utmost density of wind generators, all of those imaginary tasks, mixed, might have the potential to energy 2.3 million houses, when the wind is blowing on the optimum velocity.

Whereas there appears to be some wind energy potential within the GOM… It’s not excellent.

“The Texas offshore 90-meter (m) top wind map and wind useful resource potential estimates are supplied on this web page. Areas with annual common wind speeds of seven meters per second (m/s) and higher at 90-m top are typically thought of to be appropriate for offshore growth.” NREL

Areas with annual common wind speeds of seven meters per second (m/s) and higher at 90-m top are typically thought of to be appropriate for offshore growth.


The typical annual windspeed at 90-m within the proposed WEA’s is mostly 7.5 to eight.0 m/s. Most of Texas’ wind energy era is positioned in West Texas, the place the 90-m winds common 8.0 to >9.0 m/s. In response to NREL’s present evaluation, the GOM would appear to have wind energy potential. Oddly sufficient, simply a few years in the past, the GOM was not thought of to be a critical wind energy candidate.

DECEMBER 3, 2021
The Gulf of Mexico is poised for a wind power growth. ‘The one query is when.’

This story by ESI Journalism Fellow Tristan Baurick was initially printed within the Instances-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate, the place it seems with further pictures and sources.


The Gulf of Mexico has lengthy appeared an unlikely candidate for offshore wind growth. Its winds are comparatively weak till they attain hurricane energy, at which level they might be overpowering. Whereas wind power builders have swarmed throughout the East Coast in recent times, the Gulf has been largely ignored.

That’s, till now. A current federal research has recast the Gulf as a possible wind powerhouse. The Nationwide Renewable Vitality Laboratory decided the Gulf has the potential to generate virtually 510,000 megawatts of offshore wind power per 12 months. That’s twice the present power wants of all 5 Gulf states, and bigger than the potential offshore wind capability of the Pacific Coast and Nice Lakes mixed.

In June, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Vitality Administration, the federal company that oversees offshore oil, fuel and wind allowing, initiated a course of that may open the Gulf to wind lease gross sales by 2025. Offshore wind corporations from Singapore, Germany and Portugal and enormous oil corporations equivalent to Shell are already displaying curiosity in constructing generators off the Louisiana and Texas coasts.


The Gulf makes up for its comparatively weak winds with different attributes. Its shallow waters cut back the necessity for tall, costly generators, and its heat temperatures and smaller wave heights are anticipated to make development and upkeep comparatively straightforward and cheap, in keeping with the research.

What actually units the Gulf aside is its primed and prepared workforce. Most of the expertise wanted within the offshore oil and fuel trade are immediately transferable to constructing and servicing wind farms.

“We now have probably the most enticing full scope of talents for offshore wind on this planet,” Martin mentioned. “It’s a part of the DNA right here to work offshore.”

Louisiana corporations rooted within the oil and fuel trade helped construct the U.S.’s first offshore wind farm, a five-turbine pilot mission that started working off the coast of Rhode Island in 2016. The Block Island Wind Farm enlisted metal fabricators in Houma, ship operators from Galliano and engineers from Mandeville.

Because the state’s oil and fuel sector shrinks, many extra corporations that serviced oil rigs might discover work within the offshore wind trade.


Hurricanes and birds

Offshore wind within the Gulf isn’t with out challenges.

“The most important query is hurricanes,” Celata mentioned. The Gulf’s lengthy and energetic hurricane season presents hazards unfamiliar to offshore wind builders in New England or the North Sea.

However with the quick tempo of improvements within the trade, Celata is assured options are within the offing.


Engineers designed oil and fuel buildings that withstood Hurricane Katrina and different potent storms, so there’s no cause they will’t do the identical for wind generators, mentioned Sara Ghazizadeh, of Keystone Engineering, the agency that designed the Block Island farm’s foundations.

“Hurricanes aren’t a problem we will’t overcome,” she mentioned. “By the point we’d like [turbines] within the Gulf, we’ll have it found out.”


Birds are one other massive query. Greater than 2 billion birds cross the Gulf every year on a migratory pathway that follows the Mississippi River.

There’s no query some birds could be killed by spinning blades, mentioned Erik Johnson, director of chook conservation science with the Nationwide Audubon Society’s Delta workplace masking Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. However local weather change is harming much more birds than wind generators ever will, he mentioned.

“The underside line is we now have to get off oil and fuel,” he mentioned. Emissions from burning fossil fuels are on the coronary heart of dramatic local weather shifts that rob birds of habitat and hurt their means to breed, migrate and discover meals. “With extra offshore wind, there will likely be a internet profit for birds.”

There are worse threats to birds. Home cats, for instance, are blamed for killing about 2.4 billion birds every year. 


MIT Local weather Portal

How lots of the 2.4 billion birds allegedly killed by home cats had been eagles, hawks, falcons or different massive migratory birds? I’d guess that wind energy has a much better kill ratio than home cats with regards to birds of prey.

Rising curiosity

Regardless of the Gulf’s challenges, offshore wind builders are already circling the Gulf looking for alternatives.

9 corporations responded to the Bureau of Ocean Vitality Administration’s request for curiosity in potential wind power leasing within the Gulf. 5 are from Europe…


MIT Local weather Portal

So… The GOM makes up for its comparatively lackluster windspeeds with current shore-based infrastructure and expert manpower… We’ll determine hurricanes later. All of 9 corporations responded to BOEM’s Request for Curiosity in Industrial Leasing for Wind Energy Improvement on the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)… At the least 5 of the businesses had been European… Making America Final Already (MALA)!

How massive is 546,645 acres?

Here’s a map of the 2 proposed WEA’s:

Here’s a map of present oil & fuel leases within the GOM:

Listed below are the WEA’s overlaid on the oil & fuel lease map:

How massive is 546,645 acres?

Is “the potential to energy 2.3 million houses” greater than an Olympic swimming pool?

The offshore Galveston WEA supposedly might energy 2.3 million houses… It could have been extra helpful to state the capability potential in Gigawatts (GW).

How a lot electrical energy does an American residence use?

In 2020, the typical annual electrical energy consumption for a U.S. residential utility buyer was 10,715 kilowatthours (kWh), a median of about 893 kWh per 30 days. Louisiana had the very best annual electrical energy consumption at 14,407 kWh per residential buyer, and Hawaii had the bottom at 6,446 kWh per residential buyer.


  • 2,300,000 houses x 10,715 kWh/residence = 24,644,500,000 kWh/yr = 24,644.5 GWh/yr
  • 24,644,500,000 kWh/yr ÷ (24 hr/d x 365 d/yr) = 2,813,299 kW = 2,813.3 MW

Assuming a 40% capability issue (most likely optimistic), that works out to about 7 GW of put in capability with a 546,645 acre footprint. ERCOT at the moment has about 92 GW of put in capability, together with 35.7 GW of seasonally problematic wind energy. Energy Journal estimated that the 2 WEA’s, mixed, might accommodate about twice that capability.

Mixed, the draft WEAs cowl 734,668 acres, and BOEM suggests they’ve the potential to energy 3.1 million houses. The Division of Inside (DOI) company that manages growth of U.S. Outer Continental Shelf power and mineral sources didn’t present an influence capability estimation. Nonetheless, the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) estimates that 1 MW of electrical energy can energy about 200 Texas houses in periods of peak demand. Whereas unconfirmed by BOEM, that implies the draft WEAs might host a mixed 15.5 GW of capability.

Energy Journal

If I take advantage of the Division of Vitality’s Offshore Wind Potential Tables, I get a most theoretical capability of 11 GW within the offshore Galveston WEA. Nonetheless, it is a gross put in capability quantity. It doesn’t bear in mind “environmental or human use concerns.”

The Nationwide Renewable Vitality Laboratory has produced these estimates of the gross (not diminished by environmental or human use concerns) offshore wind potential expressed in “put in capability.” That is the potential megawatts (MW) of rated capability that might be put in at offshore areas with imply annual wind speeds of seven m/s and higher at a 90-m top, assuming 5 MW of put in capability per sq. kilometer of water. The offshore wind potential tables current the useful resource damaged down by annual wind velocity, water depth, and distance from shore.


So… My 7 GW estimate seems to be affordable, if not overly optimistic.

Whereas 546,645 acres doesn’t appear very massive in comparison with GOM oil & fuel leases, it is extremely massive for 7 and even 15 GW of put in capability.

This report considers the varied direct and oblique land necessities for coal, pure fuel, nuclear, hydro, wind, and photo voltaic electrical energy era in the US in 2015. For every supply, it approximates the land used throughout useful resource manufacturing, by power vegetation, for transport and transmission, and to retailer waste supplies. Each one-time and steady land-use necessities are thought of. Land is measured in acres and the ultimate evaluation is given in acres per megawatt.

Particularly, this report finds that coal, pure fuel, and nuclear energy all function the smallest bodily footprint of about 12 acres per megawatt produced. Photo voltaic and wind are rather more land intensive applied sciences utilizing 43.5 and 70.6 acres per megawatt, respectively. Hydroelectricity generated by massive dams has a considerably bigger footprint than some other era know-how utilizing 315.2 acres per megawatt.

Whereas this report doesn’t try and comprehensively quantify land necessities throughout the complete manufacturing and distribution chain, it does cowl main land elements and presents a useful place to begin to additional examine numerous power sources and facilitates a deeper dialog surrounding the mandatory trade-offs when crafting power coverage.

Stevens et al., 2017

Primarily based on the electrical energy consumption of a median U.S. residence, the offshore Galveston WEA would produce 2,813.3 MW from 546,645 acres.

  • 546,645 acres ÷ 2,813.3 MW = 194 acres/MW

Even when my estimated 7 GW is simply too low… 15 GW would nonetheless be 90 acres per GW.

Presently energetic GOM federal oil & fuel leases cowl 10,352,543 acres. As of April 2022, the typical each day manufacturing from GOM federal leases was 1.763 million barrels of oil per day (bbl/d) and a couple of.218 billion cubic toes of pure fuel per day (Bcf/d). Let’s convert every part to Btu/d. Sure… I do know it’s not a really apples to apples comparability… However will probably be as enjoyable as unit conversions can get!

Offshore Galveston WEA

  • 2,300,000 houses x 10,715 kWh/residence = 24,644,500,000 kWh/yr
  • 24,644,500,000 kWh/yr ÷ 365 d/yr = 67,519,178 kWh/d
  • 67,519,178 kWh/d x 3,412 Btu/kWh = 230,384,888,301 Btu/d

Over 230 billion Btu per day! Wow!

  • 230,384,888,301 Btu/d ÷ 546,645 acres = 421,452 Btu/ac*d

Over 400,000 Btu per acre every day!

Offshore Oil & Gasoline

  • 1,763,000 bbl/d x 5,691,000 Btu/bbl = 10,033,233,000,000 Btu/d
  • 2,218,000 mcf/d x 1,000,000 Btu/mcf = 2,218,000,000,000 Btu/d

Over 12 trillion Btu per day…

  • 12,251,233,000,000 Btu/d ÷ 10,352,543 acres = 1,183,403 Btu/ac*d

Practically 1.2 million Btu per acre per day. It’s really much more than that, as a result of solely about 40% of the energetic leases are at the moment producing oil & fuel and the precise floor footprints of the manufacturing services are rather a lot smaller than the leased acreage.

Even when I doubled my wind energy output estimate, it will nonetheless be considerably lower than power oil & fuel. And that’s evaluating the speculative output of windfarms, that gained’t be producing something, for years, if ever, to precise power manufacturing… Vitality manufacturing that the present maladministration is doing every part of their energy to destroy.

Sure… I do understand that a number of power is consumed within the strategy of changing fuels to electrical energy. Since, oil is primarily used for transportation and industrial functions, direct comparisons with wind energy are usually not notably helpful, besides to make wind look puny. However, we will immediately examine it to pure fuel. It sometimes requires 7.40 cubic toes (scf) of pure fuel to generate 1 kWh of electrical energy.

  • 2,218,000 mcf/d x 1,000,000 Btu/mcf = 2,218,000,000,000 Btu/d
  • 1,000,000 Btu/mcf –> 1,000 Btu/scf
  • 1,000 Btu/scf ÷ 7.40 scf/kWh = 135 kWheq/mcf

Dividing the power output of pure fuel yields the power equal of electrical energy era.

  • GOM Pure Gasoline: 2,218,000,000,000 Btu/d ÷ 7.40 ~ 299,729,729,730 Btu/d
  • Offshore Galveston WEA: 230,384,888,301 Btu/d
  • 299,729,729,730 Btu/d > 230,384,888,301 Btu/d

The numbers are nearer than I assumed they might be… However then there’s the price. The levelized price of electrical energy from offshore is greater than 3 times that of pure fuel mixed cycle, Even when you assume the tax credit are free, it’s nonetheless greater than double the price.

$136.51/MWh is 13.651¢/kWh… That era price is increased than the typical residential charge in Texas (13.15¢/kWh). Even when you deduct the tax credit score from the price, it’s nonetheless greater than twice the price of mixed cycle pure fuel, onshore wind and photo voltaic PV. It’s much more costly than coal & nuclear, probably the most dependable and resilient era sources. And don’t let the announcement of apparently inexpensive energy buy agreements idiot you.

This report analyzes the facility buy agreements (PPAs) between Massachusetts electrical
distribution corporations (EDCs) and Winery Wind LLC filed on July 31, 2018. The evaluation is
supposed to derive insights for estimating price of U.S. offshore wind programs and to tell
broader price modeling actions. The documented first-year value for supply of offshore wind
era and renewable power certificates underneath the Winery Wind/EDC PPA is
$74/megawatt-hour (MWh) (2022$) for facility 1 (400 megawatts [MW]) and $65/MWh (2023$)
for facility 2 (400 MW). This primary-year PPA value, nevertheless, doesn’t replicate the complete 20-year
PPA value schedule or the whole set of anticipated income sources and tax advantages accessible to the Winery Wind LLC mission.


An in depth accounting of the PPA value schedule and anticipated income sources inclusive of these which might be exogenous to the reported PPA is carried out on this research to estimate the mission’s levelized income of power (LROE). This permits for a extra equal comparability of the reported PPA pricing with bottom-up modeled (unsubsidized) levelized price of power (LCOE) estimates. The reader ought to be aware that this evaluation solely displays the opinions of the authors and was carried out independently of the continuing analysis by the Massachusetts Division of Vitality Sources of the PPA between Winery Wind LLC and Massachusetts electrical distribution corporations as filed on July 31, 2018. The evaluation and conclusions described herein don’t replicate precise price information, that are confidential to Winery Wind and its companions.

The whole calculated LROE from the Winery LLC/EDC PPA is estimated to be $98/MWh (2018$). This LROE estimate for the primary commercial-scale offshore wind mission in the US seems to be throughout the vary of LROE estimated for offshore wind tasks just lately tendered in Northern Europe with a begin of economic operation by the early 2020s. This means that the anticipated price and threat premium for the preliminary set of U.S. offshore wind tasks could be much less pronounced than anticipated by many trade observers and analysts.


Beiter et al., 2019

Now can somebody clarify to me why offshore wind must be within the GOM? Granted, the WEA’s are in areas the place oil & fuel manufacturing is usually a factor of the previous. Will probably be good for the workboat trade… However will extra wind energy be good for the Texas grid (ERCOT)? Notably since it’s going to price excess of the seasonally dependable wind energy we have already got within the grid.


Beiter, Philipp, Paul Spitsen, Walter Musial, and Eric Lantz. 2019. The Winery Wind
Energy Buy Settlement: Insights for Estimating Prices of U.S. Offshore Wind Tasks.
Golden, CO: Nationwide Renewable Vitality Laboratory. NREL/TP-5000-72981.

Stevens, Landon. Footprint of Vitality: Land Use of U.S. Electrical energy Manufacturing. 2017. Strata Coverage, Utah State College. Logan UT. 2017.



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