Texas is about to win the title of owning the nation’s first offshore wind farm. With more than 10,000 MW of onshore wind energy capacity recorded in 2010, the state is likely to start the first offshore wind turbine production in the U.S. off the coast of Galveston. The project still has to obtain a Purchasing Power Agreement, but is planned to go up as early as late 2011.
The state’s business environment has created plenty of benefits for the use of offshore wind. Texas actually offers business opportunities that are unrivaled by other states, making it a prime place for the offshore wind industry.
Texas offers a combination of laws and conditions that give it more control over the Gulf of Mexico than surrounding states. Any project located within 10 miles of the coast of Texas does not have to go through federal regulations, while other states have a 3 mile maximum. For project development, the only leases necessary come from the Texas General Land Office.
The Texas Offshore Wind Energy Roundtable and Offshore Wind Law conferences are set to meet in Houston on October 3rd and 4th, 2011. The companies are gathering to explore the Texas marketplace and encourage influential companies in the industry to bring their business to Texas. Case studies, finance and transmission grid considerations will all be discussed. More information on the conference can be found here.
If Texas demonstrates the value of offshore wind energy and cost-saving approaches that can be taken, this may be a big motivator for other states, countries and businesses to follow suit.