East Anglia’s bid to break into American offshore wind energy market

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East Anglia’s offshore wind farm sector is hoping to break into the US market with the expertise it has built up through developing the region’s coastline.

A total of 20 Suffolk and Norfolk businesses met with operators and developers involved in Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) scheme through an online event organised by Norfolk & Suffolk Unlimited and the City of Virginia Beach.

OrbisEnergy, East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) and Opergy gave presentations during the webinar, positioning Norfolk and Suffolk as the UK’s clean energy region.

CVOW is set to be the first offshore wind project in Federal waters and the first to be owned directly by a US utility company, delivering more than 2.6 GigaWatt of renewable energy by 2026. Construction and commissioning for the US scheme gets under way in 2024, with Danish firm Ørsted already building a two-turbine pilot project as a forerunner to the full-scale one.

Developer Avangrid Renewables also joined the online session to present its plans for the 2.5 GigaWatt Kitty Hawk Offshore Wind Farm, located 30 miles from CVOW off the coast of North Carolina.

East Anglia’s offshore energy industry – which employs more than 800 businesses and 11,800 employees – expects to attract £60bn of capital investment in its energy projects by 2040 and £1.3bn worth of offshore wind operations and maintenance opportunities by 2025.

The Norfolk & Suffolk Unlimited brand – designed to appeal to a global market – promotes the area as the UK’s home of clean energy.

The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)-run initiative in collaboration with Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils is backed by the Department for International Trade.

LEP boss Chris Starkie said the region was already building strategic links with key European and global offshore wind markets, with its businesses involved in almost every wind farm project around the world.

“Our energy sector has been through tough times, but the east coast remains a global hub for skills and innovation. We remain in a great place to make the most of future opportunities and relationships like this are key to that.”

Virginia Beach’s Director of Economic Development, Taylor Adams, said: “We’re delighted that companies from Norfolk and Suffolk can help us get our new offshore wind industry going. They have a huge amount of expertise and we are doing everything we can to give them a warm welcome over here.

“I’d like to thank Norfolk & Suffolk Unlimited for all their assistance and look forward to working with them in the future.”

Ian Pease, business development manager for All Energy at OrbisEnergy, said: “Our original plan was to showcase Norfolk and Suffolk’s offshore wind supply chain during a visit to the UK by our Virginia Beach colleagues. But rather than postpone, we decided to take the event online and were able to introduce 20 businesses from the region to some of the key players from the emerging US offshore wind market.

“The format exceeded all expectations and our next steps are to facilitate a series of online ‘meet the buyer’ sessions to support Norfolk and Suffolk energy businesses in exporting their expertise to a global offshore wind market.”

Supply chain companies wanting to find out more about the potential opportunities should contact Ian Pease at ian.pease@suffolk.gov.uk