European energy giants still dominate U.S. offshore wind future – NBC10 Philadelphia

A group led by two US companies paid $645 million last week for future development rights to an offshore wind farm off the coast of New Jersey.

Invenergy Wind Offshore LLC, which is a partnership led by Chicago-based Invenergy and New York-based energyRe, now owns the rights to 84,000 acres where company officials believe 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy can be harnessed at using turbines larger than the Washington Monument.

“We are very happy where we are, and this is a huge opportunity for our two American companies to really shine,” said energyRe President Jeff Blau in an interview Thursday.

Despite Invenergy Group’s victory, the federal auction proved that European energy giants still dominate the booming offshore wind industry. The other five auctioned leases were seized by companies based in Spain, Britain, France and Germany. (One of those five includes a New York investment firm.) In total, the six leases brought in $4.4 billion to the federal government.

European energy companies already own most of the 17 leases awarded between 2013 and 2018. Industry experts say these foreign conglomerates have a head start with their decades of experience building wind farms in Europe. Most are former fossil fuel companies that years ago set up renewable energy subsidiaries.

The stakes are immense, and growing. The size of the six ocean parcels awarded at the three-day auction is 762 square miles, which is equal to the combined size of Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Chicago.

This is in addition to the 2,722 square miles of Atlantic Ocean real estate – larger than the state of Delaware – already leased off the east coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts.

President Joe Biden and several Atlantic Coast states are counting on offshore wind power to replace at least 30 gigawatts of fossil fuel power by 2030. That’s enough power for 10 million American homes.

Blau said he hopes the federal government will change the way it conducts future auctions for ocean leases because current rules favor Europeans, who have billions to spend and the confidence to shell out the money due of their experience in building wind farms for the last time. two decades.

“We think maybe the government needs to rethink how these auctions are done, so we can bring more American companies into the fold,” Blau said. “There are many auctions where this becomes more than just a price. The price may represent 70% of the decision, 20% perhaps the expertise and experience, and 10% the country of origin. If you’re trying to push more US companies, that would be the best way to do those auctions.”

When asked if his company, energyRe, which is a branch of The Related Companies, a private US real estate empire, would continue to pursue opportunities in offshore wind and renewable energy, Blau said: “We are just getting started.”

Here’s a look at the six entities that bought ocean tract leases, the companies behind them, and how much they paid.

A visualization of the six ocean parcels leased by the federal government to potential offshore wind developers in February 2022 for 0.4 billion. The parcels represent a combined area of ​​768 square miles.

OW Ocean Winds East, LLC

PRICE PAID: $765,000,000
SIZE: 71 522 acres (112 square miles)

It is a partnership between Ocean Winds, an international offshore wind energy company created by the Spanish company Renewable EDPs and based in France ENGIEand a New York-based fund manager, Global Infrastructure Partners.

It is the second offshore wind farm in North America planned by Ocean Winds, which already has development underway on 127,000 acres off the coast of Massachusetts. The first phase of this project, called Mayflower Windis expected to provide about 2 gigawatts of power from more than 80 turbines.

Mindful Energy LLC

PRICE PAID: $795,000,000
SIZE: 84 332 acres (132 square miles)

The entity is a subsidiary of TotalEnergies Renewables USA LLC. It is the first offshore wind development in the United States by a French oil and gas company called TotalEnergies.

Mindful energyThe successful award of a lease in the New York Bight marks TotalEnergies’ entry into the U.S. offshore wind market after a decade of business in that country’s solar and energy storage spaces. We are proud to help ramp up the offshore wind industry here in the United States as part of our corporate goals to reach 100 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030 globally,” said David Foulon, head of U.S. offshore wind at TotalEnergies in a statement last week.

Bight Wind Holdings, LLC

PRICE PAID: $1,100,000,000
SIZE: 125 964 acres (197 square miles)

Bight Wind is a subsidiary of RWE Renewables, which in turn is part of the German energy giant RWE. Like TotalEnergies, RWE’s winning bid for the largest stretch of ocean to be auctioned this year is the first offshore wind development in the United States for the German utility.

RWE has less experience in offshore wind development than other European-based multinational power companies that have leased the ocean off the United States over the past decade. But this 126,000-acre expanse has the potential to generate up to 3 gigawatts of renewable energy, enough to power more than one million American homes.

“Winning a lease at the New York auction is an important milestone for us as it marks RWE’s entry into the US offshore wind market, one of our key strategic markets,” Sven Utermöhlen, CEO Offshore Wind of RWE Renewables, said in a statement. Our success in this auction represents an important milestone on our way to tripling our offshore wind capacity to 8 gigawatts by 2030, as part of our “Growing Green” growth and investment program. We now look forward to developing our first offshore wind project in the United States and contributing to the region’s offshore construction goals.”

Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Bight, LLC

PRICE PAID: $780,000,000
SIZE: 79 351 acres (124 square miles)

The entity is a subsidiary of Victory at sea of ​​the Atlantic coastsD SARLa partnership between two British electricity companies, Shell and EDF Energy. Atlantic Shores LLC already owns development rights to one of the largest expanses of ocean off the US coast. Its 183,000 acres of land in southern New Jersey has enough space to produce up to 2.3 gigawatts of power.

In July, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved Atlantic Shores’ first phase of development on this stretch. The BPU has approved Atlantic Shores to build about 110 turbines that will produce 1.5 gigawatts of electricity. That’s enough for 700,000 homes, according to the company. The project is currently undergoing extensive federal permitting and environmental reviews. It is the largest single state-approved development, and only the third largest overall.

Offshore wind farms: rental areas and developers

Seventeen federally leased areas lie off the coasts of eight US states, as of December 2021. Click on each lease site to see how many turbines are expected or estimated, which developer they belong to, and the quantity energy that will be generated. Turbine totals are either based on developer proposals or estimated using the power generated by the largest turbine currently on the market.

“This New York Bight lease, combined with our existing portfolio of offshore energy projects, strengthens Atlantic Shores’ position as a driving force in establishing this new industry and providing clean, renewable energy while protecting our natural resources,” said Joris Veldhoven, commercial and financial director at Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind. “It also provides a significant boost to Atlantic Shores’ national supply chain strategy and the skilled workforce we invest in, consistent with our goal of creating thousands of well-paying jobs for years to come. to come.

Invenergy Offshore Wind LLC

PRICE PAID: $645,000,000
SIZE: 83,976 acres (131 square miles)

The entity is a partnership of several US companies and a Canadian pension fund, with two US-based companies as lead managers: Invenergybased in Chicago, and energyRe, which has offices in New York and Houston. Invenergy owns and operates energy and storage facilities around the world. EnergyRe is a subsidiary of Related companies, a private US real estate empire. Blau, who oversees energyRe as CEO of The Related Companies, said energyRe’s management consists of former executives from Spain-based EDF Renewables.

“For more than twenty years, Invenergy has relied on its deep technical expertise to lead the transition to renewable energy in the United States and around the world.”, Invenergy founder and CEO Michael Polsky said in a statement. “The U.S. offshore market is the next frontier in the clean energy revolution, and we are proud to have the opportunity to increase American competitiveness in the global offshore market as we build a sustainable world.”

Mid-Atlantic Offshore Wind LLC

PRICE PAID: $285,000,000
SIZE: 43,056 acres (67 square miles)

Mid-Atlantic Offshore Wind LLC is also owned by Shell and EDF Energy, the two British power giants that own Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, one of which holds the rights to one of six other lands being leased in the auction .

The 50-50 partnership between UK energy companies now holds the largest stretch of Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast, with three stretches totaling 477 square miles. It’s about 40% the size of Rhode Island.

Rise of offshore wind turbines

Wind turbines in the ocean are much larger than the land-based versions that dominate the landscape in places like the American Midwest. Here’s how the largest turbine on the market, General Electric’s 12 MW Haliede X, compares in size to some well-known structures.

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