US offshore wind blowing in the right direction?

May 10, 2019

On the East Coast of the US, there is a hive of offshore wind activity.

Rhode Island became home to the first US offshore wind project three years ago with the installation of the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm. Meanwhile, Massachusetts approved the first commercial-scale wind farm along its coastline, with the potential to power nearly 400,000 homes and New Jersey authorized 1,100 MW of offshore wind capacity in the largest single-state offshore wind solicitation, paired with a commitment to 3,500 MW by 2030.

Also, New York called for quadrupling its offshore wind goals to 9,000 MW by 2035 and received an unprecedented response to its inaugural solicitation for 800 MW or more of offshore wind.

And that’s all within the last twelve months!

However, as many head to Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) this month, it was interesting to read headlines from the Texas media (and Energy Voice) stating that offshore wind projects are unlikely to get underway off the Gulf Coast for another decade.

Despite the attractive surroundings, the thinking is that prices for electricity are currently so cheap that there is no sense of urgency to invest heavily in offshore renewables projects. It won’t be until power prices rise substantially that projects will finally get moving – although there are plans to start powering oil rigs with wind-powered systems in the Gulf of Mexico.

The previously stagnated progress in the US has led to the lack of an established supply chain within the country and Scottish companies have a real opportunity to take full advantage of the growing export opportunities within the sector.

AREG is well placed to open doors in international markets.

Last year, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Business Network for Offshore Wind (the Network) in the US to pursue mutual commercial, strategic and policy interests in promoting the offshore wind industry in the US and the UK.

We are working together to develop strategies, share access to government and business leaders in the US and UK, advocate for international partnerships, and shape future offshore wind policy in both countries.

A few weeks ago, we were a cooperating partner at the Network’s International Partnering Forum (IPF), which is a leading technical conference for offshore wind in the US dedicated to moving the industry forward. It was encouraging to see so many Scottish companies involved.

The event brought together state, federal and international leaders alongside industry experts. Many in attendance were from traditional oil and gas operators, which demonstrates the focus of the sector on the energy transition.

Our MoU with the Network as well as our participation in The Europe Leading Blue Energy (ELBE) project, which seeks to position Europe as the world leader in blue energy, provides AREG members with platforms to share their skills and expertise around the world. The third ELBE networking event takes place on May 21 in Gothenburg, Sweden and with an excellent programme in place, I would encourage our members to get involved.

AREG’s next event is going to explore opportunities through diversification. It will be held at the newly refurbished Music Hall on May 31 and registration is available on our website.

 

Jean Morrison, AREG chairwoman

Get in touch

The team at AREG is committed to ensuring that businesses in Aberdeen City and Shire capitalise on opportunities in renewable energy and that our members achieve success in this rapidly growing market. Please contact us with your news, views, concerns and successes so that we are well placed to deliver on your behalf.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.

All-Energy

Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.

Vattenfall

Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise