Offshore Wind Developers Must Think Big in U.S., Dong Says

  • Industry must add 500 megawatts annually for 15 years
  • Biggest offshore wind company set up U.S. office in July

Offshore wind companies need to install 500 megawatts annually for the next 15 years for the technology to make economic sense in the U.S., according to Dong Energy A/S, the world’s biggest developer of sea-based turbines.

Large-scale projects will be the key to reducing installation costs and making electricity from offshore wind farms affordable in the U.S., Thomas Brostrom, the Fredericia, Denmark-based company’s general manager for North America, said Monday.

Offshore wind has thrived for more than a decade in Europe, where it has been subsidized in the U.K., Germany and elsewhere. The expense of building massive turbines at sea has prevented the industry from taking hold in the U.S. Dong is seeking to change that, and sent Brostrom to run its first U.S. office in July.

“The industry needs to think big,” Brostrom said at the U.S. Offshore Wind Leadership Conference in Boston. “As a region you would need ideally 500 megawatts a year. And I think it is possible.”

Dong has acquired leases for two U.S. sites, in the waters of New Jersey and Massachusetts, and is scouting the East Coast for other locations, Brostrom said. The company pioneered the world’s first offshore wind farm in 1991, and has projects with more than 2,000 megawatts of capacity in operation and another 1,000 megawatts under construction.

Deepwater Wind LLC began construction in July on the first U.S. offshore wind farm, a 30-megawatt project in Rhode Island.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.