Offshore wind venture calling in the US – but the journey is long
Bladt Industries is ready for an American offshore wind venture with inherent challenges. Watch a video about how they build their several-hundred-tonne foundations.
In the future, New York may become famous for a whole new skyline – consisting of wind turbines.
The state of New York has announced its plans for an offshore wind project of enormous magnitude: 9,000 megawatt by 2035. That’s equal to about eleven of the enormous offshore wind farms Denmark is planning to build three of by 2030.
And New York isn’t the only state with offshore wind dreams.
Fellow East Coast states Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland have plans to construct offshore wind farms to supply 10 millions American homes with electricity.
“This is good news for Danish companies who have specialised in making parts for wind turbines – right from blades to foundations and undersea cables,” says Troels Ranis, Director of the Danish Energy Industries Federation.
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Enormous potential - but...
Together with the Danish Energy Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Confederation of Danish Industry hosted a conference on offshore wind in New York – centring on the many new possibilities.
We’re a wind country, we have a very strong wind industry and I’m very proud of the great effort being made across the sector and authorities to strengthen Denmark’s wind venture. Minister for Energy, Utilities and Climate Lars Chr. Lilleholt
Among the Danish suppliers who participated in the conference in New York City is Bladt Industries A/S from Aalborg. The steel contractor is a global market leader in the production of parts such as the enormous steel foundations that offshore wind turbines stand on.
“There is no doubt that there is enormous potential along the American east coast – greater than in the whole of Europe,” says Vice President Lars Kristensen, Bladt Industries.
In a panel discussion at the conference he described the challenges that companies such as Bladt Industries face as a subsupplier to major firms such as Ørsted and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), who are submitting tenders for the offshore wind projects.
“Right now there are lots of political declarations of intent and a whole lot of gigawatts in circulation - but only one actual project on the market. As long as there is no ‘firm pipeline’, it’s difficult to hire in local subsuppliers and develop a supply chain like we have in Denmark,” says the vice president of Bladt Industries.
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Big investments don’t equal contracts
Lars Kristensen explains that the American East Coast states are all greatly concerned with “local content”. This means that production – and thereby jobs – have to be based in their particular state.
Although Bladt Industries could become the main supplier of foundations, the Aalborg company can only establish a potential new production site in one location, explains the vice president.
“We’d have to invest a whole lot of money, and we can’t do that in several states. But even if we choose New York, for example, and start there, there’s still no guarantee that we’ll get contracts. Right now it’s very much a chicken-or-the-egg discussion,” says Lars Kristensen.
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Major effort across sector and authorities
The reason why Bladt Industries is still dedicating people, hours and know-how to the American offshore wind venture is partly to support project developers such as CIP and Ørsted who have invested large sums in the development of projects and have submitted tenders for the New York project – and partly because of its own American dream.
“Even though prospects remain distant, this is something we want to realise – a Bladt Industries in the US with production and local partners. That’s why we’re currently preparing ourselves as well as possible, so we’ll be ready to invest when things properly get going,” says Vice President Lars Kristensen from Bladt Industries.
Minister for Energy, Utilities and Climate Lars Chr. Lilleholt (Venstre) is pleased that so many different players are making an effort.
“In Denmark we’ve got the whole package when it comes to offshore wind. We’re a wind country, we have a very strong wind industry and I’m very proud of the major effort being made across the sector and authorities to strengthen Denmark’s wind venture,” says Lars Chr. Lilleholt in a press release.
In addition, the Energy Agency and the Ministry for Energy, Utilities and Climate are sending an offshore wind expert to the US to intensify and expand existing partnerships with federal and state authorities, just as DI has partnered with State of Green to establish the Danish Cleantech Hub, which seeks to promote Danish cleantech solutions – including offshore wind – in New York and New York City.
Curious about how Bladt Industries A/S builds their several-hundred-tonne wind turbine foundations? Watch the Aalborg company’s 1.19-minute video below.