NREL weighs Gulf of Mexico tidal and wave options

Illustration (Image: BOEM)

Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) plan to conduct a study that will explore the feasibility of various offshore renewable energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico.

The study, funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), will in addition to tidal and wave potential, also evaluate the feasibility of ocean current energy, ocean-based solar energy, ocean thermal energy, and deepwater source cooling.

However, the main focus of the study will be the exploration of offshore wind potential in the Gulf area, which, according to NREL, offers a number of advantages for the sector, including shallow water that makes turbine installation easier, and close proximity to existing offshore oil and gas infrastructure.

The US Department of Energy’s Wind Vision Report aims to install 86 million gigawatts of offshore wind by 2050, with the Gulf Coast playing a large role, according to NREL.

NREL said it designed the survey to determine if the region can transform 50 years of offshore manufacturing and deployment expertise into a thriving offshore industry.

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