Trump Not Acting on Offshore Wind Threats, Dong Says

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October 2, 2017

Deepwater Wind LLC project off the coast of Rhode Island, the first offshore wind farm in the U.S.. Credit: Deepwater Wind

By Peter Levring (Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump’s threats against wind energy have so far proven empty, according to an industry giant that expects to grow in the U.S.

Thomas Thune Andersen, the chairman of Dong Energy A/S, says the world’s biggest offshore wind developer hasn’t seen any actions that have followed Trump’s verbal attacks. In fact, he says there are signs that American commitment to the industry might even be growing.

“One thing is Trump getting up and commenting on this,” Thune Andersen said in an interview in Copenhagen on Monday. “But he hasn’t acted on it. And many of the decisions are made at a state level. They’re still pushing this agenda and they may even have accelerated it as part of the political game.”

Trump, who has blamed wind turbines for killing bald eagles, has as a businessman unsuccessfully tried to stop offshore parks that spoil the view from his golf course in Scotland. As president, he has dragged the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, and promoted coal in favor of wind energy, promising to bring back jobs in the process.

But before Trump took office in January, the U.S. congress extended a production tax credit, or PTC, that will give tax breaks to wind producers until 2020.

Dong, which is based in Denmark, this year sold its oil and gas business in order to focus entirely on renewable energy. The company is changing its name — an acronym of Danish Oil and Natural Gas — to Orsted to mark the shift. (H.C. Orsted was a 19th century Danish physicist who discovered electromagnetism.)

Dong is focused on the east coast of the U.S., where it’s using existing contacts to achieve growth, according to the chairman.

“It’s very important we don’t spread our focus too much,” Thune Andersen said. “But although the U.S. east coast is a vast area, it’s still very much the same people we’re talking to.”

The company sits on about one-quarter of the global market, “but the market is growing tremendously fast,” he said. “We still have an ambition to remain the biggest player, but because the market’s been successful, competition is growing.”

© 2017 Bloomberg L.P

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