What in the event that they gave an offshore wind social gathering in Texas and no one got here? That’s what occurred final week, when the Biden administration tempted the worldwide wind business to compete for 2 new offshore lease areas alongside the Texas coast. No person bit, and now it’s again to the drafting board for state power planners who’re already battling an overstrained, remoted grid.
Texas Takes A Rain Verify On Renewable Vitality
The Texas Tribune makes case that the Texas state legislature and different high officers have cultivated a get-off-my-lawn power coverage, and that renewable power has been getting the quick finish of the stick. That helps account for the dearth of curiosity in offshore wind growth. The robust tempo of onshore wind and photo voltaic industries may additionally trigger some offshore builders to suppose twice earlier than taking the plunge. CleanTechnica has observed these issues, too. See our protection right here.
The opposition to renewable power is a reasonably current growth for Texas. Within the early 2000s, Texas policymakers set the stage for the state’s rip-roaring onshore wind business to take off. Texas can also be among the many high US states for photo voltaic power and power storage. Regardless of the unwelcoming political surroundings, the state continues to draw new funding in different up-and-coming applied sciences together with inexperienced hydrogen and electrofuels.
Effectively, it seems like Texas’s offshore wind belongings are a bridge too far for buyers. The CleanTechnica ears perked up in July, when the US Division of the Inside introduced that it was auctioning off two offshore lease areas alongside the Texas coast for a complete of two.4 gigawatts in capability. We figured there could be bother forward.
“… prepare for a Conflict of the Titans remix,” we famous. “Highly effective renewable power stakeholders are heading for a showdown in opposition to the same old suspects and the Federalist Society is reportedly weighing in as properly.”
What we didn’t anticipate was that there could be precisely zero curiosity in any of the 2 Texas leases from any wind stakeholders. The record of certified bidders included Shell New Energies US, TotalEnergies Renewables USA, Hanwha, (by means of its Offshore North America and Qcells USA branches), Gulf Wind Offshore, Hecate Vitality, Invenergy GOM Offshore Wind, RWE Offshore US Gulf, and US Mainstream Renewable Energy.
Louisiana Dives Into Offshore Race, Texas Waves Buh-Bye
Louisiana had one lease space included in the identical public sale and it fared higher, although it obtained solely two bids. The Bureau of Ocean Vitality Administration, which administers the offshore wind lease gross sales for the Inside Division, has tapped RWE because the successful bidder.
That must make a few of Louisiana’s highly effective gamers within the fertilizer enterprise pleased. Ammonia fertilizer is large enterprise, and the first supply of ammonia is pure fuel. Some fertilizer stakeholders have already begun eyeballing inexperienced hydrogen as extra marketable feedstock for ammonia because the decarbonization motion gathers steam. With a possible capability of 1.4 gigawatts, Louisiana’s new Lake Charles lease space might present an ample provide of fresh electrical energy to run electrolyzer methods for producing inexperienced hydrogen from water.
In the meantime, the dream is dying in Texas. Simply 18 months in the past, power stakeholders in Texas pitched the concept of a sprawling inexperienced hydrogen manufacturing hub. Offshore wind might have performed a job within the plan together with the state’s onshore wind, photo voltaic, and landfill fuel belongings.
Texas continues to be attracting inexperienced hydrogen buyers, however the failure to draw any offshore lease space bids might have monkeywrenched a public-private interstate hydrogen partnership with Louisiana. Known as HyVelocity, the bi-state enterprise is competing for a part of an $8 billion Vitality Division funding pot, aimed toward establishing a community of multi-asset hydrogen hubs within the US.
The Vitality Division program is funded by means of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Regulation. The regulation stipulates that a part of the funding should go to gas-sourced hydrogen, although the primary emphasis is on inexperienced hydrogen. The HyVelocity enterprise covers each bases. Nevertheless, now they’ll should discover a strategy to do the inexperienced hydrogen half with out counting on Texas’s offshore wind sources.
In the meantime, Over In Poland
To be honest, Republican officers in Texas aren’t solely answerable for scaring off wind buyers within the US. A multi-state motion in opposition to offshore wind faction bought off to a robust begin within the early 2000’s when it stymied wind growth off the Atlantic coast. Opponents have stored up the stress ever since, so it’s no shock that the US solely has a handful of offshore wind generators in industrial operation in the present day.
We higher get a transfer on. Different international locations have already staked out floor within the offshore wind business, and the sphere is getting crowded.
Specifically, CleanTechnica has been monitoring new offshore wind exercise within the Baltic Sea, the place coastal nations are already eyeballing alternatives to supply and export inexperienced hydrogen along with offering for home power wants.
The newest growth is a brand new Memorandum of Understanding between the group Norwegian Offshore Wind and the Polish Funding and Commerce Company. They plan to leverage Norway’s management place within the world offshore wind business with Poland’s expertise within the building business. The prize is Poland’s objective of bringing 18 gigawatts in offshore wind on-line earlier than 2040.
“The offshore wind growth is a sizzling matter in Poland. We see an enormous curiosity from manufactures and provide chain firms,” explains Lukasz Grabowski, Director of Export in Polish Funding and Commerce Company. “With the signing of the MOU with Norwegian Offshore Wind, we’re on path to achieve our targets.
Different offshore wind stakeholders in Poland aren’t ready round for the grass to develop underneath their ft. In April, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Vitality introduced one other milestone in Poland’s Baltica 2 offshore mission, which can sport 107 wind generators when it comes on-line in 2027, every with a capability of 14 megawatts.
Together with Baltica 2, Siemens counts a complete of 1.79 gigawatts in its portfolio for Poland.
“The Baltic Sea can present big alternatives for the expansion of the business in coming years,” says Marc Becker, the CEO of Siemens Gamesa’s offshore enterprise.
So does the Gulf of Mexico, for that matter. The final time the US Division of Vitality checked, offshore wind was essentially the most technically possible marine-based renewable power useful resource within the Gulf of Mexico, weighing in at a possible for 508 gigawatts in capability.
In opposition to that measure, Louisiana’s 1.24 gigawatts from the brand new lease public sale is only a drop within the bucket.
Then once more, offshore followers in Louisiana have to be feeling fairly good after they look over at poor Texas, not noted within the chilly. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, who’s a robust advocate for wind power, introduced a 5-gigawatt objective for the state’s offshore wind plan final yr. The brand new Lake Charles lease space will take a giant chunk out of that, assuming that RWE can convey most or all of its 1.24-gigawatt haul on-line.
Don’t escape the pom-poms simply but. Edwards is a term-limited Democratic workplace holder in a Republican-dominated state. Voters should choose a brand new governor this November 18. Let’s wait and see if the brand new governor is as keen to guide Louisiana into a brand new period of offshore power, or not.
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Picture: Courtesy of US Bureau of Ocean Vitality Administration.
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