Avondale Tenant Gulf Wind Technology Announces Collaboration With Shell

Shell has invested $10 million in Avondale Global Gateway tenant Gulf Wind Technology to create the Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator with the goal of developing, testing and deploying a new type of wind turbine designed specifically for the Gulf of Mexico. The collaboration will combine research and development with technology-focused education and workforce development specific to the Gulf region.

“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 Gulf Wind Technology. “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.” The accelerator is the second major investment in future energy production in Louisiana in less than a year. Just last June, Shell announced a $27.5 million investment to establish the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation and support construction of LSU’s Our Lady of the Lake Interdisciplinary Science Building.

The collaboration with Gulf Wind Technology made sense for Shell, which has been part of Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas industry for more than 60 years, Shell Offshore Power Americas Vice President Amanda Dasch said.

“We see opportunities to do the same for offshore wind in this region and are proud to support Louisiana’s 5 gigawatt 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 (LSU).

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New Energy Sector

Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO Inc., praised the investment in Louisiana’s fledgling new energy sector.

“The Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator program represents a milestone in the development of Louisiana as a hub for offshore wind,” Hecht said. “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.”

In heralding the new partnership, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards pointed to the state’s own climate action plan.

“As the global economy transitions to clean energy, Louisiana is ready to lead the way, creating jobs and diversifying our economy in the process,” Edwards said. “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.”

Avondale Global Gateway

T. Parker Host bought the Avondale Shipyard site in 2018. Ever since, the company has been working to convert the site to a multimodal terminal called Avondale Global Gateway. Host President and CEO Adam Anderson said having Gulf Wind Technology as a tenant and now hosting the wind energy accelerator at Avondale fits the vision for the repurposed shipyard.

“When we took the risk of transforming Avondale Shipyard, this is exactly the type of progress and partnership we envisioned,” Anderson said. “With hundreds of acres of laydown space for equipment like offshore wind blades, our site is the ideal location for this type of groundbreaking investment. We had a vision of Avondale Global Gateway becoming the first offshore wind hub on the Gulf Coast, and with the launch of this partnership, we are quickly making this a reality.”

Paul Matthews, CEO of the Port of South Louisiana, which is seeking to purchase Avondale from T. Parker Host, echoed Anderson’s enthusiasm for the new wind energy development program.

“When the Port of South Louisiana began to look at acquiring the transformed Avondale Global Gateway, we were not only impressed by the current activity on the property, but we also recognized the potential for future development, especially in the area of renewable energy,” Matthews said. “Today’s announcement from Gulf Wind Technology and Shell is confirmation that Avondale is open for business and attracting commerce and investment from the world’s most recognizable organizations.”