John Geoghegan in Wired:
The port of Iberia has never been busier. Situated on a narrow canal leading to the Louisiana coastline, the docks here throb with the sound of tugboats towing oil platforms to and from their anchorages in the Gulf of Mexico. When a drilling site is depleted, the platforms return to port; the docks are littered with rusting steel hulks waiting for their next run. In December, though, one of these platforms, stripped and refurbished by a local startup, returned to sea with a new mission. The first of a flotilla to come, it carried wind-monitoring equipment as well as radar for tracking migratory birds. Those that follow will be topped not by drilling rigs but by windmills. The turbines are bound for an 18-square-mile area roughly 10 miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas, where the first offshore wind farm in the US is under construction. That’s right: The flower of sustainable energy is blooming in oil country. Get ready for the Great Texas Wind Rush.
Formed in 2004, Wind Energy Systems Technology (WEST) is on track to commercialize offshore wind power well ahead of more established and better funded contenders with greener credentials. At $240 million and 150 megawatts of peak output—enough to power 45,000 homes—the project is modest. But the eyes of the alt-energy world are upon it. “WEST may not be in the mainstream, but they’re definitely serious,” says Walt Musial at the National Wind Technology Center in Colorado. “They might actually do it.”
… Leave it to a couple of Gulf Coast good ol’ boys to take up the slack.