European oil majors are turning to offshore wind power projects in the United States. Earlier this year, Shell bid for an offshore wind power lease off the North Carolina coast and Danish DONG Energy set up an office in the U.S. and is taking part in a consortium focused on wind energy off the Massachusetts coast. Now, Norway’s Statoil has joined the wind power party in U.S. waters after winning a license for one such project offshore New York.
The wind power industry in the U.S. is in the nascent days of development, while in Europe the market is 25 years old and saturated, so the energy companies from the continent are looking for new opportunities abroad, despite the Trump administration’s shift away from renewables and back into fossil fuels.
Companies like Shell and Statoil can leverage their deep-water drilling and project operation experience, and they have both reoriented themselves towards renewables. Statoil has more extensive experience in wind power than Shell--but both seem to be determined to diversify steadily into renewable energy.
According to government estimates, in the U.S., there is offshore wind power potential of up to 2,000 GW. This compares to planned European offshore wind capacity expansion to 25 GW by 2020.
Wind power has now overtaken hydroelectric as the largest single source of clean energy in the United States. With 82,000 MWs of total installed capacity at the end of 2016, wind turbines exceeded the 80 thousand…