Offshore wind industry looks to Gulf expertise

Since it organized four years ago, the non-profit Business Network for Offshore Wind has been working to bring together U.S. companies and talent to build a new supply chain for offshore wind energy.

That includes the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas industry – the world’s oldest and deepest reservoir of offshore energy operating experience. Recently the network has been in New Orleans, reaching out to builders, vessel operators and anyone else who can help develop the dozen or so offshore turbine projects planned off the East Coast.

“We need vessels. We need vessels that can lift the nacelles (turbine housings) and the rotors,” said Ross Tyler, the network’s executive vice president told an audience of Gulf operators at the International WorkBoat Show last month.

When Deepwater Wind built the first commercial U.S. offshore wind installation at Block Island, R.I., it sought out two Louisiana companies. Steel foundations for the five turbines came from Gulf Island Fabrication Inc. in Houma, installed with liftboats from Galliano-based Montco Offshore.

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