Simply Blue Group, a pioneer of floating offshore wind power in Europe with over 3.2 gigawatts (GW) in development in Ireland and the UK, today announced its key leadership team for new operations in the U.S, which represents a 30 GW market opportunity for floating offshore wind by 2040. As industry and policy leaders seek solutions to speed the clean energy transition, experts report that almost two-thirds of U.S. offshore wind resources are in deeper waters requiring floating wind platforms, and this technology will ultimately match fixed offshore wind for delivering reliable, cost-competitive clean power to the 80 percent of Americans living in U.S. coastal communities.
For the U.S., and globally, the power of floating offshore wind has become increasingly clear. "Over the next 20 years, the market for floating offshore wind will equal fixed-bottom offshore wind," said Walt Musial, who leads offshore wind research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). "By NREL's assessments, some 60 percent of viable offshore wind resources in the U.S. can only be tapped with floating wind, and costs are coming down rapidly."
"Floating is the future and next frontier for U.S. offshore wind power," said Kevin Banister, Chief Development Officer & President, Simply Blue USA, who led offshore wind development at Principle Power for almost 10 years. "As Simply Blue assesses floating offshore wind markets around the globe, no opportunity ranks higher than the U.S. I couldn't be more proud of the team we've assembled to help responsibly develop offshore wind on all of America's coasts."
Along with Banister, the industry veterans Simply Blue has appointed to lead its U.S. team include:
- Stephanie McClellan, Ph.D., Chief of Strategy & Policy, North America and founder, Special Initiative on Offshore Wind;
- Alana Duerr, Ph.D., Director, U.S. Projects, who led DNV's North American offshore wind advisory team; and,
- Karolina Pietrzak, Deputy Chief Development Officer, who has a decade of U.S. and European offshore wind expertise.
"Our U.S. leadership team has, each in their own unique way, helped lay the foundation for U.S. offshore wind," said Sam Roch-Perks, CEO, Simply Blue. "Their expertise and experience are just what's needed to push the next frontier – floating wind off America's coasts. This team, combined with Simply Blue's experience in floating wind projects in Ireland and the UK, will hasten the expansion of U.S. offshore wind into new areas that have vast, untapped wind resources."
A leading developer of sustainable floating wind, headquartered in Cork, Ireland, Simply Blue has a current floating wind footprint of over 3.2 GW in development and a total project pipeline of over 9 GW. Simply Blue's projects in development include the 96 MW Erebus and 300 MW Valorous projects off Wales, under the Blue Gem Wind joint venture with TotalEnergies; the 1.3 GW project off the south coast of Ireland being developed by the Emerald joint venture with Shell; the 1.35 GW Western Star project off the Atlantic coast of Ireland; and the 200 MW Salamander project off Scotland with Subsea 7. Last week, Simply Blue announced an $18 million investment by Octopus Renewables, a specialist investor focused on accelerating the clean energy transition, for expansion plans in the UK, Ireland and internationally.
Said McClellan, "Offshore wind's time has come. Now more than ever, we must look to all of our renewable resources, especially the strong, steady winds blowing further offshore. I'm excited Simply Blue is tapping its expertise to bring floating offshore wind power to the U.S, and help states and the federal government meet their clean power goals."
"It's no longer a question of whether floating offshore wind works – we know it does," said Duerr. "We see global markets rapidly advancing to take advantage of this technology. We have a great opportunity in the U.S. to find the right solutions to sustainably develop deep-water markets, and each region will require its own care and approach."
"Our efforts to fight climate change must be redoubled and offshore wind power is an important part of the solution," said Pietrzak. "Deploying at utility-scale is essential, but fixed bottom projects alone won't get us to the finish line. Floating wind is the future and we must act now to turn its promise into reality. Simply Blue knows how to harvest this enormous clean power potential."
In March, the Biden Administration set a 30 GW goal for U.S. offshore wind by 2030 in all coastal waters. While early attention has focused on fixed platforms in shallow East Coast waters, deeper waters off California, Oregon, Hawaii, Gulf Coast, Great Lakes and also East Coast hold as much or more potential for development – as much as 30 GW by 2040 – utilizing floating wind technology already deployed in other world markets. Along with accessing deep-water sites, floating wind offers significant advantages in higher yield/capacity factors, ease of installation and minimal visual impact.
"New York and the region are going to need large amounts of offshore wind power and we'll need all the tools in our toolbox, whether fixed-bottom or floating," said Joe Martens, Director, New York Offshore Wind Alliance. "Getting started now on floating wind is important and it's exciting to see experienced specialists entering the U.S. market."
"The flexibility of floating offshore wind offers great opportunities for many clean power players as our renewable energy transition accelerates and the need to find new places for generation increases," said Noe Rouxel, Floating Wind Offshore Lead, DNV. "We are excited to welcome the Simply Blue team to the U.S. market."