Legislation that would make state waters more attractive to companies interested in developing wind energy projects off of the state’s coastline is headed to the House floor. Houma Representative Jerome Zeringue says he supports oil and gas production but also recognizes alternative energy is coming.
“And it’s something that we can and should take advantage of, both for the opportunities it presents in generating energy, but also in terms of jobs,” said Zeringue.
Zeringue says a recent study shows a single offshore wind project could generate over 5,000 jobs.
The House bill would increase the maximum size of a lease from 5,000 to 25,000 acres. Larose Representative Joseph Orgeron says wind turbines need more space than oil and gas rigs.
“If you are doing oil and gas, you only need one well, one point place to produce, but for offshore wind, you need a farm and you have to space out the turbines appropriately,” said Orgeron.
Louisiana Natural Resources Secretary Thomas Harris says he’s heard from several wind energy developers but decided not to do business because of the current 5,000-acre limit.
“Just for example, there was one person who is interested based on the 5,000 adaption, you would have to do eight separate leases, that’s just not a good way to do business,” said Harris.
The bill received unanimous support by the House Natural Resources Committee.
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