The United States is well-positioned to take advantage of the substantial technological advancements, economies of scale, and cost reductions achieved in Europe in the deployment of offshore wind energy. With 7.7 GW of offshore wind capacity in operation, German policymakers and stakeholders have a successful track record in developing, installing, operating, and maintaining offshore wind projects.
With the goal of better understanding and navigating the evolving landscape of offshore wind farm needs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) welcomed U.S. stakeholders to a transatlantic knowledge exchange in June 2022. During the event, experts from Germany provided insights into how they faced maritime spatial planning challenges, offshore wind sites located far from shorelines, environmental concerns, and grid connectivity issues, which have all posed considerable obstacles to Germany’s ambitious offshore wind energy goals. However, technological innovation and constructive collaboration between the private sector and policymakers have made successful offshore wind deployment possible.
One major takeaway of this delegation tour was that to accelerate offshore wind energy development, it is necessary to analyse offshore wind-energy supply chain risks and requirements and address training capacity needs for this sector. This trip is part of a broader effort to strengthen cooperation on energy issues between the two countries, encourage the exchange of ideas, and build energy transition policy expertise.
KEY FEATURES OF THE VIRTUAL TOUR
- Presentations on the regulatory, technical, and economic issues facing the offshore wind market in Germany by relevant ministries and important stakeholders.
- Meetings and peer-to-peer knowledge exchanges between offshore wind energy experts, policymakers, and industry professionals from the U.S. and Germany.
- Site visits, including large-scale offshore flagship projects along Germany’s wind-rich northern coast.
- Discussions about the potential for continued cooperation.
"I was hoping this trip might yield some learnings for my state [Oregon, United States] as we consider the role that offshore wind may play in our energy future. I also hoped to gain valuable contacts and a chance to offer to share anything that may benefit others from our state’s experience so far. All of my expectations were exceeded with this trip! There’s no substitute for seeing the actual infrastructure involved, and talking with those who have walked the path already. Our hosts were exceptionally willing to share their experience and wisdom, and RENAC’s generosity, attention, and dedication were really inspiring. I came away with concrete questions and initiatives that will help our state move forward in a way that’s best for customers. This was a shining example of the benefits of cooperation and information sharing."
Mark Thompson, USA, Commissioner, Oregon Public Utility Commission, 2022
"Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to participate in a delegation from the U.S. to Germany addressing the development of offshore wind. The experience was most informative from a national policy standpoint. It covered onshore implementation and integration with the grid and, of course, the offshore experience itself. We enjoyed a fascinating mix of experts and delegates both from the U.S. as well as our German counterparts. This is a tremendous opportunity and invaluable information not to be missed as we develop our offshore program here in the States!"
James F. Bennett, USA, Office of Renewable Energy Programs, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), 2022