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Long voyage: the US wind power industry has had to contend with multiple jurisdictional obstacles


HarnessingPacific wind F


THE US WEST COAST HOLDS UNTAPPED POTENTIAL FOR OFFSHORE WIND. PHILIPPAMAISTER REPORTS


orget Hollywood. Forget Silicon Valley. The new great hope for California is the mighty Pacific


Ocean and the powerful winds that drive its great waves, offering a fresh source of renewable energy to power homes and industries. An executive order issued in the first week of Joe Biden’s US adminis-


tration set an ambitious national goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030, breaking sharply with the for- mer president Donald Trump’s administra- tion. For decades, the sector has been stymied by regulatory minefields involving multiple federal and state agencies, as well as litigation and a 10-year moratorium imposed by the Trump administration.


East coast leads theway InMay, fourmonths afterMrBiden’sannounce- ment, Vineyard Wind near Massachusetts became the first commercial-scale offshore wind farmin the US to win federal approval — after a five-year process. Vineyard Wind “is not about the start of a


single project, but the launch of a new indus- try”, rejoiced the company’s chief executive, Lars T Pedersen. The company is a joint venture between


Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of Spain’s Iberdrola Group, and Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP). At least another


56


11 offshore wind farms along the US east coast are in various stages of review by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Prominentamong themare foreigncompa-


nies benefiting from the dearth of a US indus- try. Developers such as Denmark’s Ørsted A/S, Norway’s Equinor and Aker Offshore Wind, the Netherlands’ Shell, the UK’s BP and France’s EDF Group are eyeing US ventures.


Time to catchup With the ball rolling on the east coast, the Biden administration threw its weight behind offshore wind power along the Pacific coast on the other side of the country. It aims to trigger billions in annual capital investment, create thousands of jobs in supportive infrastructure and new US supply chains, and combat climate change. Accordingly, on May 25, federal agen- cies in collaboration with California’s gover- nor Gavin Newsom announced an agreement to advance areas for offshore wind in the state. Off California’s Humboldt coastline, BOEM


recently gave the go-ahead for an environmen- tal review of 207 square miles of open water in preparation for a mid-2022 auction of leases for floating offshorewindturbines. Ocean Winds, a joint venture between Portugal’s EDP Renováveis and French utility company Engie, has announcedit will bid for a lease to construct a commercial-scale floating wind farm. The pro- ject is a joint venture with Aker Offshore Wind, in partnership with US-based Principle Power


www.fDiIntelligence.com August/September 2021


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