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GNO Inc. says Louisiana is prime for wind power future

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 4:17 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2021 at 6:23 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A local economic development group says the Louisiana wind power industry is well-positioned for growth.

They say the largest turbine blades in the world are now being developed in New Orleans East and offshore wind farms in the Gulf of Mexico are likely to be developed in the next few years.

The winds of change are blowing in a state that’s been heavily involved in the oil and gas industry since 1901.

“We are excited about offshore wind because it represents a new opportunity for Louisiana,” said Michael Hecht, with GNO Inc.

The largest wind turbine blades in the world are now being developed by LM Wind Power near Michoud.

Louisiana companies, traditionally rooted in the oil and gas industry, are now involved in the manufacture of wind power structures and support vessels being used for a new wind farm off Rhode Island.

“Louisiana companies like Keystone engineering, Edison Chouest and Gulf Island fabrication are already involved in the project,” said Hecht.

Chouest, whose bread and butter has been oilfield supply vessels, now makes large ships designed to tend to offshore wind farms all over the world. And there could be more wind farms closer to home as well.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management launches a new initiative seeking to develop the potential for more wind power in the Gulf of Mexico, where offshore wind farm leases could be granted soon.

“They have come out with pretty aggressive targets. They think they can meet the bids by the fourth quarter of 2022,” said Anthony Bodin, with GNO Inc. business development.

As the wind power industry expands, Avondale is already playing a pivotal role, eight years after it was shut down as a shipyard.

“What you’re seeing in Avondale is the trans shipment of smaller blades that are being used for onshore wind farms in places like East Texas, as well as up and down the Mississippi River,” said Hecht.

GNO Inc. has begun a wind power initiative to tap into a potential growth industry in a state slowly transitioning away from fossil fuels

“What we’re basically seeing is everyone sees this as an opportunity that plays to Louisiana’s strength in history as an energy state,” said Hecht.

GNO Inc. says many energy companies are already branching out into renewables and he says traditional Louisiana oil and gas companies are also beginning to move in the same direction.

GNO Inc. says Louisiana is number four for potential in wind energy thanks to its relatively shallow continental shelf and prevailing offshore winds. They say wind turbine blades are now being developed that can withstand hurricane-force winds.

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