RWE and National Grid Jointly Pursuing Entry into U.S. Offshore Wind

US offshore wind market
(file photo)

Published May 21, 2021 4:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Biden administration is expected to accelerate efforts to develop offshore wind farms in the coming months and one of the most lucrative contacts that are moving toward auction is for sections of the New York Bight. Companies are beginning to prepare for the upcoming auctions, which will be part of New York State’s efforts to complete the development of 9,000 MW of offshore wind power by 2035.

German energy giant RWE Renewables is looking to expand its installations in the United States, including entry into the offshore wind sector. The company announced that it is forming a partnership with National Grid, which operates power systems including in New Jersey and New York in the United States, to jointly develop offshore wind projects in the coastal region of the Northeast U.S.

“Our partnership with National Grid represents an exciting milestone for RWE to further grow our renewable energy business in the U.S.,” said Sven Utermöhlen, Chief Operating Officer Offshore Wind Global of RWE Renewables. “While we are an established presence in the U.S. with our onshore wind, solar and storage activities, this partnership will support RWE’s plans to realize a sizeable position in the offshore wind space.”

Under the new agreement, RWE and National Grid Ventures, the non-regulated division of National Grid, will be working together to explore opportunities in the U.S. offshore wind market. The company announced that this includes “an intention to jointly bid in the upcoming New York Bight seabed lease auction.”

In March 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) identified a large area spanning from the southern coast of Long Island to the New Jersey Shore, the New York Bight, as a prime area for the next phase of offshore wind development. The agency initially targeted 800,000 acres of shallow waters that would be well suited as locations for wind turbines but later reduced it to 625,000 acres to address concerns. New York officials objected that the targeted areas were closer than the state’s 18-mile boundary to limit views of the turbines from shore as well as possible interference with marine traffic and fishing. The agency is moving forward with environmental reviews in preparation for the auctions.

“We’re very pleased to partner with RWE as we take our first steps towards developing offshore wind projects in the Northeast U.S.,” said Cordi O’Hara, incoming President of National Grid Ventures. NGV is pursuing a pipeline of solar, wind, and battery storage projects across the country as it seeks to expand its business.

RWE has developed, built, and operates 27 wind farms and more than 4,300 MW of wind energy projects across the U.S. RWE has said that it will invest up to $1.66 billion annually to expand its wind, solar energy, and storage technologies portfolio. Outside the U.S., they are currently developing offshore wind farms near the English Coast and Germany and have made the investment decision to proceed with the 1.4 GW Sofia project as part of the U.K.’s Dogger Bank field. Sofia will be one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world.