News Details

Offshore expansion in the USA on a high From Hamburg to the World: EEHH attends IPF for the third time

Offshore expansion in the USA on a high
German delegation at IPF2024 in New Orleans

Breakthrough in the expansion of offshore wind energy in the United States as the South Fork Wind Farm goes into operation. But challenges remain nonetheless. Investment in the supply chain, ports and other infrastructure will be necessary to achieve the 30GW target by 2030. This was also among the focal points of IPF 2024. 3,500 trade visitors, around 400 exhibitors and 12 international delegations gathered in New Orleans from 23 to 25 April 2024, with Germany putting in the strongest showing.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action organised a joint German stand at the IPF ‑ called the ‘German Pavilion’ – for the first time. It gave German companies an affordable opportunity to showcase their talents on the US offshore wind market, all grouped under the ‘Made in Germany’ label. The German delegation included the EEHH Cluster Agency (Astrid Dose, Authorised Representative, and Jingkai Shi, International Renewable Energy Cooperation) and several EEHH members and Hamburg-based companies such as 8.2 Consulting, GRS.Offshore Renewables GmbH, J.B.O Jörss-Blunck-Ordemann GmbH, Kodiak GmbH, Schmidbauer GmbH & Co. KG, OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE Foundation and WINDEA Offshore GmbH & Co. KG.

Speech by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland

Economic headwind leads to sluggish offshore expansion

Supply chain issues, high inflation and rising interest rates: the US offshore wind industry struggled with a number of major challenges in 2023. Some European wind companies drew their own conclusions and were forced to abandon their plans for individual wind farms. Just a few days before the IPF 2024, the US turbine manufacturer GE announced it would review the delivery and installation of its 18MW offshore wind turbines. This would endanger the future of three projects in the State of New York with a total capacity of 4GW: Attentive Energy One (TotalEnergies, Rise Light & Power and Corio Generation), Community Offshore Wind (RWE and National Grid) and Excelsior Wind (Vineyard Offshore).

But expansion continued nevertheless, despite the difficult market circumstances. Ørsted and Eversource partnered up to build the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States: South Fork, situated around 56 km off the Long Island coast of New York, which was put into operation in March 2024. With its twelve turbines and installed capacity of 132MW, South Fork is able to supply green electricity to 70,000 households. The project marked a milestone for the State of New York on its journey towards climate neutrality. Delivering 800MW, another large-scale commercial wind farm, Vineyard Wind 1, is scheduled for connection to the grid by the end of the year. It is currently under construction 24 kilometres off the coast of Massachusetts.

The White House is equally aware of the difficult circumstances posing the industry. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk used the IPF Plenary Session to announce a new support programme. Their aim was to underscore commitment to offshore development and provide certainty and confidence to investors, particularly in light of concerns relating to the upcoming presidential election.

Port New Orleans

Supporting programme focuses on port infrastructure

Right at the beginning of the IPF week, the GOI-German Offshore Wind Initiative coordinated a tour of the ports of New Orleans and Fourchon. The EEHH Cluster Agency and travelling members were given profound insight into the current development and plans for expanding the port infrastructure to cope with offshore wind energy. The delegation met for talks with Gulf Wind Technology in New Orleans. Specialising in wind turbine rotor technology, Gulf Wind Technology delivers end-to-end, technology-based engineering solutions that are tailored to the specific challenges associated with rotors. In 2023, Gulf Wind Technology entered into a strategic partnership with Shell, which includes an investment of US$ 10 million to establish a joint accelerator programme. Their collaboration will include the deployment of innovative technologies in a demonstration turbine later this year, with the aim of developing, testing and implementing the first series of optimised technical solutions for a Gulf-specific wind turbine in the port of Fourchon. The Gulf of Mexico region is characterised by its low wind speeds and hurricanes, which place specific demands on the design, installation and operation of wind turbines.

The port of Fourchon is the southernmost port in the state of Louisiana and is situated directly on the Gulf of Mexico. Fourchon has been an important hub of offshore oil and gas production for decades. There are over 600 offshore oil platforms in a radius of around 65 kilometres of Fourchon, supplying almost 20% of the oil in the United States and 90% in the Gulf of Mexico. Information released by the American Clean Power Offshore Wind Market (2023) indicate that the offshore wind project pipeline will have a capacity of around 52GW, 84% of which is planned and executed in the states along the Eastern Seaboard. Louisiana believes it holds a strong position and is determined to exploit its locational advantages, including offshore expertise, direct connection to the water and attractive cost structure, to establish itself as a central hub for the offshore wind supply chain and to serve the projects in the Gulf of Mexico and on the East Coast.

Around 350 guests from the German, American and international offshore wind industry gathered in a local German beer garden in New Orleans to celebrate the traditional evening Beer and Brats Reception, which the EEHH Cluster Agency supported as a partner.

EEHH and Hamburg-based companies

Hamburg cements its role as Germany's offshore wind capital

Hamburg accounted for the largest number of companies/institutions in the German delegation, presenting itself for the third time at the IPF as the German offshore wind capital under the leadership of the EEHH Cluster Agency and bringing important expertise and experience to the table in talks with American stakeholders. Prof Martin Skiba, Board Member of the OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE Foundation, Dr Florian Knobloch, Deputy Head of Division for Policy Issues of Bilateral Climate and Energy Cooperation at the BMWK, and Bastian Stenzel, Senior Manager at adelphi (moderator), assembled in the Speakers' Corner to discus the 15-year history and evolution of the German offshore wind industry.

In another meeting, Jakub Seehafer from the Hamburg engineering firm Jörss-Blunck-Ordemann spoke with Lincoln Electric about current challenges in the supply chain. At the IPF Global Insights panel discussion, EEHH member Schmidbauer (represented by Minka St. James) used the company as an example to present innovative solutions and expertise that could be applied to the challenges in the United States, including limited space in the port and uncertainty around approval and construction times.

The EEHH Cluster Agency took the IPF as an opportunity to network with other European and international energy clusters and to coordinate bilateral activities for the WindEnergy Hamburg trade fair in autumn 2024. All co-exhibitors in the German delegation voiced their deep satisfaction with their joint participation in the IPF in New Orleans. The EEHH Cluster Agency extends its gratitude to WAB e.V. for the excellent organisational support provided to the German Pavilion and for delivering the content for Speakers' Corner.

BMWK is already planning another joint German stand at the next IPF, which will be held in Virginia Beach, Virginia from 28 April to 1 May 2025. More detailed information should be available in the second half of 2024.

About Jingkai Shi

Profilbild zu: Jingkai Shi

Hamburg is the model region for the energy transition and the Germany’s wind capital with connections all over the world. The local renewable energy sector is thus a key partner for the international energy industry. In my role as a contact person for international cooperation in renewables, I’m responsible for REH’s relations with international industry networks, support REH’s members in their international activities, and help Hamburg gain a stronger visibility and perception on the world stage by using social media.