Nexans is Set to Open America's First Offshore Wind Cable Plant

Nexans' plant in Charleston, South Carolina (file image courtesy Nexans)

Published Nov 3, 2021 2:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

French cable manufacturer Nexans is preparing to open a new high-voltage subsea power cable plant in South Carolina, fulfilling a 2019 deal with wind farm developers Ørsted and Eversource. 

The plant is the first of its kind in the United States, and it will support Nexans' contract to supply up to 500 nautical miles of cable assemblies for Ørsted’s offshore wind farm projects in New England through 2027. It is also contracted to produce 160 nm of export cables for the Equinor / BP Empire Wind development, delivering power to customers in Brooklyn and Long Island. 

“With its Charleston facility, Nexans is a strategic supplier at the forefront of the development of a robust U.S. supply chain needed to grow the U.S. offshore wind energy economy and create sustainable jobs. We are committed to playing our part in the creation of a more sustainable world and the electrification of our planet while helping meet U.S. goals for carbon neutrality and a reduction in greenhouse gases," said Christopher Guérin, CEO of Nexans.

Nexans has invested $200 million in the new Charleston plant, which builds on an existing cable-production facility for shoreside transmission cables that opened in 2014. Its operations will employ about 210 people. Its opening advances the firm's "New Nexans" reorganization program, a strategic shift to refocus on the most profitable segments of the cable business - including power cables for the growing offshore wind sector. 

Nexans is a global player in subsea cables, and it is investing in new manufacturing capacity in growth regions. In July 2021, it opened a new subsea cable assembly plant in Tianjin, China, positioning the firm to serve the booming Chinese offshore wind market - the fastest-growing regional segment in the industry. 

Nexans also operates two cable-laying vessels, including the Norwegian-flagged Nexans Aurora, which is contracted for the installation of the cables for Empire Wind. Under a longstanding ruling, U.S. Customs and Border Protection allows the use of foreign-flag vessels for most cable-lay activity in U.S. waters.