Half my life I have lived in the US and half in Europe. One reason I have kept an eye on the developments in the US in regards to offshore wind energy. The moment was right to attend this year’s IPF in Atlantic City, NJ put on by the Business Network for Offshore Wind. The event was a collaboration amongst a strong established industry, political drivers, voices from technology, science and fresh talent, with local and international forces – there was an energy, a spirit of partnering and “getting the steel in the water” as the US colleagues referred to the goal of 30 GW to be produced in the US by 2030 from offshore wind. Germany stated the same goal.
Every panel, any hallway-talk or lunch break, each meeting or after-hours event, the topic of every conversation was about developing and securing sustainable solutions for the local communities aligned with a global responsibility for future generations. In the exchanges of the US-EU forums, difficulties were discussed that are faced on either side: workforce, investment, permitting, supply chain, and recent new challenges the war in Europe is bringing about.
I am inspired by how closely the local governments and corporate companies work with universities, high schools, education centers, and even elementary schools to build a workforce for the many talents needed in the growing industry that is being created in the US.
Partnering and working together are key. From a supplier perspective, I want to encourage you, the developers and project leaders, to bring the challenges to the table, work with us in the early phases. As a lifting and heavy haulage expert, Schmidbauer has been a reliable partner in a range of wind energy projects throughout Europe for the past decade. We are the late link in the supply chain of what is being brought forward. We have many problem-solving solutions to offer. It has been a crucial experience to be in close partnership with the Siemens Gamesa engineering team for prototypes for floating wind turbines off of Marseille for the Provence Grand Large project in France. It has proven to be of great value for the development of the turbines supply chain with respect to handling parts and port logistics. Work with your suppliers and bring them in early on. It will be helpful in all phases from development, planning to realization for smooth operations.
Personally, I was impacted by a quote US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm spoke. She said, “No country has been held hostage to access to the sun; no country has been hostage to the wind. This is not just an energy and climate issue – it also is potentially the greatest peace plan that ever existed to be able to build out energy independence from clean energy." That remains to be seen but I am grateful for the perspective and will continue the efforts with this inspiration in mind.