European Firms Looking to Harness US Offshore Wind

European Firms Looking to Harness US Offshore WindEuropean Firms Looking to Harness US Offshore Wind

Some European oil majors have made inroads into the emerging US offshore wind energy market, aiming to leverage their experience of deepwater development and the crowded offshore wind arena at home.

Norway’s Statoil, which has won a license to develop a wind farm of the New York coast, is marketing its new floating turbine to California and Hawaii, and is retraining some oil and gas staff to work in its wind division, Reuters reported.

Royal Dutch Shell bid for a lease offshore North Carolina earlier this year while Denmark’s DONG Energy, a wind energy pioneer that agreed to sell its oil and gas business in May, is in a Massachusetts-based offshore wind consortium. It will hold a lease off the New Jersey coast and has opened an office in Boston.

Offshore wind generation began in the United States late last year, ironically after the election of Donald Trump as president. He is skeptical about climate change, complains about subsidies for renewable energy and battled against an offshore wind farm near his Scottish golf resort.

However, a string of federal seabed leases were awarded before Trump took office and more are planned. The investment needed to get projects going is one of the biggest obstacles.

US oil companies have some investments in solar and onshore wind, but when it comes to offshore wind, many say they are waiting for a time when government support is not needed.

In Virginia, where Spanish utility Iberdrola’s Avangrid has secured an offshore wind license, a rich marine engineering heritage is expected to help local companies gain work. Smaller European oil and gas firms are also gaining work.

JDR Cable Systems, a British company that has traditionally supplied subsea power lines to oil and gas platforms, earlier this year won a $275 million contract to provide electric cables for the largest US offshore wind farm off the Maryland coast.

“We are well placed to develop business in the US because of the existing relationships we have in Europe,” said John Price, global sales director for renewables at JDR.

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