EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG is continuing its strategy of capturing growth in new international markets in the renewable energy sector.
Following its recent entry into Taiwan, EnBW has now expanded its activities to the United States of America by establishing a regional subsidiary, EnBW North America, and forming a joint venture with Trident Winds Inc. to develop an offshore wind project off the coast of in Central California. This represents the EnBW Groups first step toward tapping into the high potential of the American market.
Several of the United States have set ambitious goals for the expansion of offshore wind. "EnBW will have a direct presence in this promising market to capture opportunities and to further build up EnBW's offshore project portfolio," says Dirk Güsewell, Head of Generation Portfolio Development at EnBW.
EnBW's first step in the American market is to focus on the West Coast of the United States, and in particular the state of California, which has a strong economy, continuously growing energy demand and ambitious renewable energy and climate goals.
EnBW North America and Seattle, Washington-based company, Trident Winds Inc., have formed a joint venture to advance the 650–1,000 megawatt "Morro Bay" offshore wind project off the central coast of California with a grid connection in Morro Bay. Together, both companies will work on the development of the first large-scale floating offshore wind project in the region. EnBW sees maturity of the enabling floating offshore wind technology as representative of the future of offshore wind.
Floating offshore wind opens new areas with greater water depth and better wind conditions. The initial focus of the joint venture is to obtain the site lease from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and on securing the grid connection which became available following the shutdown of the Morro Bay power plant.
"Trident Winds welcomes the project development and the operational expertise of EnBW to bring the proposed Morro Bay project to a reality. Successful projects require local knowledge, close interaction with stakeholders, detailed knowledge of permitting requirements, and extensive experience in offshore wind project design, construction and operation. The newly created joint venture brings all these elements together," says Alla Weinstein, Founder and CEO of Trident Winds Inc.
"We are pleased to have Tridents Wind at our side, a competent and experienced partner with whom we intend to advance the "Morro Bay" project along the project development timeline. Offshore wind development on the West Coast of the United States is still at an early stage. The state of California, which is aligned with our home market of Baden-Württemberg through a 2015 joint commitment to climate protection, renewable energy and sustainable mobility, has some of the most ambitious climate and renewable energy goals in the country. Hence, offshore wind is positioned to play an important role in California over the next decade. Together with our partner Trident Winds, we want to be actively involved from the start," Dirk Güsewell added.
Offshore wind development in the United States has become considerably more dynamic in recent years: in 2015 the U.S. Department of Energy published a nationwide wind study, which contemplates 22 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy deployment by 2030 and 86 GW by 2050. The first offshore wind farm is now in operation.
At the same time, the states of Massachusetts, New York, Maryland and New Jersey have established specific targets for offshore wind development: according to targets that have already been released, up to 8 GW of offshore wind should be in operation by 2030.