NEW ORLEANS - Today, the City Council's Smart and Sustainable Cities Committee received presentations on the potential for wind energy in the Gulf of Mexico, including a focus on the brand new Gulf of Mexico Wind Feasibility and Economic study produced by the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Federal scientists from BOEM presented the study's findings and explained how they pertain to the future of energy production in New Orleans and across the Gulf South.
The agenda also included presentations by LM Wind Power, a GE technology company with a research and development campus in New Orleans East; thoughts about the synergies between offshore oil and gas and offshore wind deployment from Louisiana-based Gulf Island Fabrication; and a policy discussion from the Southeastern Wind Coalition.
Committee Chair Jason Williams says, "We don't need to look very far back to see a blatant reminder that our climate is rapidly changing. Our terrain and position in the Gulf dictate that we look outward for sustainable sources of energy that can serve our great city when fossil fuels are no longer a feasible and affordable option. Today we heard from an expert panel about the state of wind energy and the feasibility of expanding our portfolio in the near future to include wind and other renewable options. After securing a historic agreement to significantly bolster our solar capacity, the Council continues its efforts to obtain a more comprehensive, diversely integrated slate of generation resources."
Council President Helena Moreno says, "This Council has repeatedly shown our commitment to moving our city towards greater resiliency and climate stewardship. It was enlightening to hear from experts - including those with facilities in New Orleans like GE's LM Wind in the East - on the opportunity wind energy presents for our city in terms of low-cost, low-carbon energy sources. I look forward to continuing the conversation to secure a greener, cleaner energy future."
Jaime Simmons, Manager of the Gulf of Mexico Region at Southeastern Wind Coalition says, "Wind energy, particularly offshore, has tremendous potential in the Gulf, and Louisiana is well-positioned to capture the industry's economic potential given the existing skillset and infrastructure that already exists here. We're glad that City Council is interested in exploring this important technology, and learning what steps they can take to realize those benefits in New Orleans."
Bob Fudickar and James Martin, Directors at LM Wind Power, a GE Renewable Energy Business says, "We were quite impressed with the knowledge and questions we received from not only Councilmember Williams, but, the whole committee. Our excitement continues to progress, knowing the City of New Orleans embraces the available technologies to make our region a less carbon reliant, more renewable friendly environment, with the most efficient and cost-saving utilities for all. With the City Council being so proactive in the industry, along with the collaboration with the State of Louisiana's support, we believe New Orleans and the entire State of Louisiana is the next hub of industry for offshore wind. Innovation, collaboration, and manufacturing, along with research and development, could and should extend from our region with its history of offshore performance."
Councilmember Jason Rogers Williams, At-Large