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New Orleans-based Gulf Wind Technology (GWT) announced it has secured a $10 million investment from Shell to launch an offshore wind technology accelerator program at its headquarters at the former Avondale Shipyard site on the banks of the Mississippi River.
Gulf Wind Technology is an offshore wind turbine technology specialist focussed on addressing challenging wind conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.
The $10 million investment from Shell New Energies US LLC, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, will help with the creation of the Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator program, combining research and development with the Gulf’s first technology-focused education and training facility for workforce development.
Through the collaboration, the companies are aiming to deploy novel technologies to a demonstrator turbine as early as 2024, designed to develop, test and implement the first suite of optimized technical solutions for a Gulf of Mexico-specific wind turbine.
“Wind resources in the Gulf region are more variable than what you find on the east coast where most of US offshore wind development activity is currently happening,” says James Martin, GWT CEO. “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. The program has been specifically created to address and fulfill this need and enable next steps for the region and for the industry.“
Shell 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, says Amanda Dasch, Vice President Shell Offshore Power Americas.
“We see opportunities to do the same for offshore wind in this region and are proud to support Louisiana’s 5GW offshore wind target by 2035. 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,” Dasch said.
The Avondale Shipyard ceased shipbuilding operations in 2014 after more than 75 years due to a decline in orders for new ships. In 2018, the site was sold by Huntington Ingalls Industries to a joint venture between T. Parker Host and Hilco Redevelopment Partners, which had plans to redevelop the New Orleans-area property into a global logistics hub. In January, the Port of South Louisiana announced it had entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with T. Parker Host for the purchase of the site to become “more competitive in traditional international trade and focus on the new frontier of renewable energy development.”
“As the global economy transitions to clean energy, Louisiana is ready to lead the way, creating jobs and diversifying our economy in the process,” says Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. “I applaud Shell and Gulf Wind Technology for recognizing the pivotal role Louisiana will play in the new energy economy, including in the offshore wind industry. With a skilled offshore workforce and our climate action plan in place, there is no better place to invest in offshore wind than Louisiana.”
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