By Josh Saul and Jennifer A Dlouhy (Bloomberg) —
Danish wind giant Orsted AS is scoping out the U.S. Gulf Coast and California as potential offshore wind farm sites, pushing its interest beyond just the Northeast in its bid to expand generation of emission-free electricity.
“We are not only focused on the Northeast coast,” Chief Executive Officer Mads Nipper said Monday in an interview. He said the company, a qualified bidder in the Feb. 23 auction for lease areas in the New York Bight, is also looking at wind and grid conditions in upcoming lease sales in coastal areas including the Carolinas, California and the Gulf Coast. “We will certainly be investigating all of those.”
The CEO’s comments come as the Biden administration weighs selling offshore wind rights alongside almost all U.S. coasts, an expansion beyond initial development that focused on the more established regions of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The Interior Department now envisions as many as seven offshore wind lease sales by 2025 — including in the frontier areas of the Gulf of Mexico and along the West Coast.
Nipper said he’d “love” to win a lease area in the New York Bight, a shallow stretch of the Atlantic between Long Island and New Jersey. The company will move on to other attractive sites, though, if the auction price goes too high, the CEO said.
“We don’t want to pay any price to get more gigawatts,” Nipper, 55, said.
Orsted is also talking with state government leaders in North Carolina, Louisiana and California.
“We’re following all these opportunities,” David Hardy, Orsted’s chief executive for offshore wind in the U.S., said during Monday’s interview. “We’re playing all sides of the table here.”
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