Texas to Install First Offshore Wind Farm in USA


Texas has pulled ahead in the final stretch of getting the nation’s first offshore wind farm and will win the race against long-announced project, Cape Wind.

After achieving a major milestone in 2010 with more than 10,000 MW of installed onshore wind energy capacity, the state will now erect the first offshore production wind turbines in the U.S. this year off the coast of Galveston. The 12 MW project must clear one final hurdle in obtaining a Purchasing Power Agreement, but with all the designs and permits already in hand, the installation could go up as soon as late 2011.

Offshore wind has undoubtedly benefited from the state’s distinctive business environment. With stable, long-term policies, and its own transmission network, Texas offers unrivaled business opportunities for the offshore wind industry. Furthermore, the state offers an exceptional combination of laws and conditions due to its unique history as an independent nation, and therefore, its control over coastal waters extends approximately 10 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico – every other state is limited to three miles. Because of this, any project located within 10 miles off the coast of Texas does not have to deal with federal regulators. Project developers only have to obtain leases from the Texas General Land Office.

In order to explore the unique Texas marketplace and to move pace-setting companies toward action in the Gulf of Mexico, the Texas Offshore Wind Energy Roundtable (TOWER) and the Offshore Wind Law (OWL) conferences come ashore in Houston on Oct. 3-4, 2011 at the Four Oaks Place. Among other topics, presentations will include a general overview of Offshore Wind Energy in the USA and Europe including case studies, transmission grid considerations, and finance.

The TOWER Conference features the policymakers and project developers who have authority over Texas offshore development, and will combine the experience of the European offshore wind energy industry, the Gulf and European offshore oil industry, and the streamlined business opportunities of the Texas offshore wind industry. TOWER offers unparalleled networking opportunities with state and business decision-makers as Texas prepares for action in the America’s first gigawatt-scale offshore wind installation.

Simultaneously to the TOWER conference, a side panel entitled “Offshore Wind Law” (OWL) will be offered. Attorneys will get a crucial understanding of the unique combination of laws governing Texas offshore wind energy development and learn how those laws make Texas a streamlined market opportunity. Last year’s 1st TOWER Conference caught the attention of many key players of the offshore wind industry including companies such as E.ON Climate & Renewables Europe, SIEMENS, Hochtief, Vestas and SIAG, all of which actively supported the conference. For 2011, the organizers expect roughly 150 – 200 attendees.

TOWER and OWL are jointly organized by the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern US and the Texas Wind Energy Clearinghouse, with the active leadership participation of the GLO.


Source: gaccny, August 10, 2011;