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United States

AWEA 2017: States to lead the way offshore

UNITED STATES: Panelists at a session on building offshore partnerships agreed the Trump administration creates uncertainty and that it is states that will lead the way.

The US' one and only offshore wind project, Block Island
The US' one and only offshore wind project, Block Island

"It's good the US is the way it is – it is the states that will make the decisions," said Alla Weinstein, founder of Trident Winds, which has submitted an unsolicited lease for a floating project off Morro Bay, California.

She noted California's current RPS of 50% renewables, which may be upped to a goal of 100%, is the sort of state-led policy that will create certainty for an offshore supply chain.

There was agreement that it would be a mistake to for states to compete against each other. They should cooperate regionally, said the panelists. "That is the number one lesson to learn from the European experience," said Weinstein.

Europe's offshore industry was not helped by having different countries competing, they said. "States will have to cooperate and not go after so much local content in the beginning," agreed Clint Johnson, senior vice president at DNV GL.

Panelists were optimistic about the potential in the US offshore market because of the recent ORECs approved in Maryland, Massachusetts' upcoming solicitation for 1.6GW of offshore wind and the development activity and policy-making in New York.

"The US is the sleeping giant that is about to wake up," said Adam Thomsen, head of US growth implementation at MHI Vestas.

He even predicted the US will be the world's largest offshore market after Europe. "The momentum is real —the states in the north-east have stepped up," added DNV GL's Johnson.

"The US has moved quite a lot up our list of priorities," said Tim Fischer, vice-director of Ramboll Wind.

Make has projected that there will be roughly 2.2GW of offshore wind in the US by 2026, Fischer noted. But there will have to be "more than that" to justify a supply chain, said MHI Vestas' Thomsen.

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