Enbridge Buys U.K. Offshore Wind With Eye on North American Seas

  • Paying $570 million for 25% stake in Rampion wind farm
  • Experience with offshore wind may help North American industry

Enbridge Inc.’s investment in a U.K. offshore wind farm may help Canada’s largest pipeline operator bring giant turbines to North American waters.

Enbridge is paying C$750 million ($570 million) for a 25 percent stake in EON SE’s 400-megawatt Rampion Offshore Wind project off the cost of Sussex, England, the Calgary-based company said in a statement Thursday.

When completed in 2018, the project will generate returns in the “low double digits,” comparable to Enbridge’s pipeline investments in North America, Chief Executive Officer Al Monaco said on a conference call Thursday to discuss third-quarter results. Learning about the offshore wind industry in Europe may help Enbridge jump-start the barely existing one in the U.S. and Canada, he said.

“If we can get to the position in Europe where we’re involved in more than one project, we could move it to North America,” Monaco said. “As we get more saturated onshore, there will be more opportunities offshore in North America too.”

Enbridge has already invested in more than 2,000 megawatts of land-based wind farms in the U.S. and Canada. This is the company’s first deal in Europe and its first for an offshore project.

While offshore wind turbines have been operating in Europe for more than two decades, none have come to the U.S., largely because of its higher costs. Deepwater Wind LLC in July began building North America’s first offshore wind farm in the waters off Block Island, Rhode Island, which will have 30 megawatts of capacity when complete.

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