Shell to Play Key Role in New Wind Energy Initiative

March 13, 2023 by Dan McCue
Shell to Play Key Role in New Wind Energy Initiative
(NREL photo)

AVONDALE, La. — Shell, one of the world’s largest oil companies, is partnering with a Louisiana-based expert in wind turbine technology to create the Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator, a program aimed at addressing the challenging wind conditions in the Gulf of Mexico in advance of widespread wind farm development there.

Shell is investing $10 million in the collaboration, which it believes will be “a key enabler” for wind energy development in the region, combining research and development of new technologies, with the Gulf’s first technology-focused education and training facility.

In a joint press release the two companies said Monday that they intend to deploy “novel technologies” on a demonstrator turbine as early as 2024. Its purpose will be to test the first suite of new technologies specifically designed to deal with what both companies described as the unique wind conditions of the Gulf.

“Wind resources in the Gulf region are more variable than what you find on the East Coast where most of U.S. offshore wind development activity is currently happening,” said James Martin, CEO of Louisiana-based Gulf Wind Technology, in a written statement.

“Seasonal hurricane conditions and moderate average wind speeds create a situation that requires a novel approach to the application of technology and the framework in which it is both developed and demonstrated,” Martin said. “The program has been specifically created to address and fulfill this need and enable next steps for the region and for the industry.”

Amanda Dasch, vice president of Shell Offshore Power Americas, noted that the multinational has been operating in the Gulf of Mexico for over six decades and has a long history of developing energy projects, including advancing and proving deep-water technologies.

“We see opportunities to do the same for offshore wind in this region and are proud to support Louisiana’s 5 GW offshore wind target by 2035,” Dasch said. 

“This $10 million investment to create the Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator program allows us to advance offshore wind development in the Gulf, while providing local wind industry training opportunities. It also builds upon our support of other regional educational institutions, including Louisiana State University,” she said.

In June 2022, Shell invested $27.5 million to establish the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation and enable construction of the LSU Our Lady of the Lake Interdisciplinary Science Building.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement that he’s both proud and excited by the role the state will play in the global economy transitioning to clean energy.

But Michael Hecht, president and CEO for Greater New Orleans, Inc., the economic development office for 10 Southeast Louisiana parishes, went a step further, calling the program “a milestone in the development of Louisiana as a hub for offshore wind.” 

“Combining the scale of Shell with the expertise of Gulf Wind Technology, the accelerator will help Greater New Orleans develop the assets and workforce to power the energy future of the Gulf South, and the country,” Hecht said.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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