Shell Invests $10M in Gulf Wind Technology Research and Training Program

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‘The shipyard cranes and infrastructure at Avondale are perfectly suited to handling the large cumbersome components of a wind turbine,’ says James Martin of Gulf Wind Technology. ‘This is why we have chosen this location for the formation of the Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator facility.’

NEW ORLEANS – Gulf Wind Technology has announced that Shell New Energies US LLC (Shell) is investing $10 million to create the Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator program. At a new research, training and technology facility at Avondale Global Gateway, the partners will explore ways to develop wind turbine rotors that will operate in challenging wind conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.

GWT hopes to create a “demonstrator” turbine as early as 2024 as it combines research and development of new technologies with a workforce development facility aimed at “accelerating the Gulf of Mexico offshore wind learning curve.”

“Wind resources in the Gulf region are more variable than what you find on the east coast where most of U.S. offshore wind development activity is currently happening,” said James Martin, GWT CEO, in a press release. “Seasonal hurricane conditions and moderate average wind speeds create a situation that requires a novel approach to the application of technology and the framework in which it is both developed and demonstrated. The Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator program has been specifically created to address and fulfill this need and enable next steps for the region and for the industry.”

Louisiana Economic Development and Greater New Orleans Inc. said the project will create 30 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $83,000 and result in an additional 54 new indirect jobs.

“Shell has been operating in the Gulf of Mexico for over six decades and has a long history of developing energy projects, including advancing and proving deep-water technologies,” said Amanda Dasch, vice president Shell Offshore Power Americas. “We see opportunities to do the same for offshore wind in this region and are proud to support Louisiana’s 5GW offshore wind target by 2035. This $10 million investment to create the Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator program allows us to advance offshore wind development in the Gulf, while providing local wind industry training opportunities. It also builds upon our support of other regional educational institutions, including Louisiana State University.”

In June 2022, Shell invested $27.5 million to establish the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation and fund construction of the LSU Our Lady of the Lake Interdisciplinary Science Building.

GWT, which focuses on wind turbine rotor technology, is headquartered at Avondale Global Gateway, the new name for the former Avondale Shipyard. Virginia-based maritime company T. Parker Host purchased the site in 2018 and brought it back into commerce. Earlier this year, the Port of South Louisiana entered into a purchase and sale agreement with Host to buy Avondale.

GWT’s facility includes a 30,000-square-foot technology space, a composites lab, and access to more than 1.5 million square feet of manufacturing and fabrication space with on-site railway, road and barge access.

​“The Shell Gulf Wind Technology Accelerator represents a milestone in the development of Louisiana as a hub for offshore wind,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO Inc. “Combining the scale of Shell with the expertise of Gulf Wind Technology, the Accelerator will help greater New Orleans develop the assets and workforce to power the energy future of the Gulf South, and the country.”

For T. Parker Host, Shell’s wind investment is welcome news, since it points to the continued relevancy of the Avondale site.

“When we took the risk of transforming Avondale shipyards, this is exactly the type of progress and partnership we envisioned,” said Adam Anderson, the company’s president and CEO. “With hundreds of acres of laydown space for equipment like offshore wind blades, our site is the ideal location for this type of groundbreaking investment. We had a vision of Avondale Global Gateway becoming the first offshore wind hub on the Gulf Coast and with the launch of this partnership, we are quickly making this a reality. This is a win not only for Gulf Wind Technology and Shell, but it is a win for Jefferson Parish and all of Louisiana. We are optimistic about the future of wind energy in Louisiana, and the future is happening at Avondale Global Gateway.”

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