Houston Matters

The Future of Offshore Wind Energy

We explore a new method of harnessing offshore wind energy and the different challenges between onshore and offshore wind farming and what it would take to see such farms off the Gulf Coast.

The GE-Alstom Block Island Wind Farm stands 3 miles off of Block Island, Rhode Island on September 22, 2016. The five 6-megawatt wind turbines are the first marine-based wind farm in U.S. and are expected to produce more eletricity than Block Island needs. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

In Texas, we’re used to seeing big wind turbines, particularly towards the west and the Panhandle, but could we eventually see those same turbines rising up from the waters of the Gulf? Offshore wind energy is a major industry in Europe that has slowly been trickling towards the US, with a small number of offshore wind farms along the northeast coast. The Trump Administration has even expressed interest in seeing the industry grow here, looking to further development and secure leases in the Atlantic.

Offshore wind power is still a relatively new method of harnessing energy, having been started in earnest 20 years ago, and technologies are still being developed to make use of wind in different areas, not just the shallow waters of the US east coast. Joshua Zinn spoke with Liz Burdock, the Executive Director of the Business Network for Offshore Wind about the different challenges between onshore and offshore wind farming and what it would take to see such farms off the Gulf Coast.

Then we talk with Charles McConnell, the Executive Director of the Rice University Energy and Environment Initiative about the overall prospects for offshore wind energy amidst the entire energy market.

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