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Offshore wind CEO bullish on American market

Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of North American operations for Ørsted, the Danish wind giant, is in Washington to speak at an offshore wind conference this week. I caught up with him ahead of the event.

Why it matters: Last week, Brostrøm’s company bought the U.S. company behind America’s only operating offshore wind farm, Deepwater Wind. Ørsted represents a growing number of European energy companies seeking to lead in the U.S. offshore wind market. Excerpts from Monday's interview follow.

On America’s growing offshore wind industry

“We have been on U.S. soil for little more than three years. At that point in time it was a little bit of a risk. … When we came in early 2015, it was very, very slow, almost a dead market. … Now, up and down eastern seaboard, whether it’s New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New England, even down to the Carolinas, there is increasing belief and support for offshore wind.”

On one big thing that has changed:

“When you look at the cost, it’s a different animal this time around, three or four years ago, when the costs were more than twice what we’re seeing today.”

On the similarities between offshore oil and offshore wind:

“Both install complex projects at sea. Working offshore is not easy, in harsh conditions. Working at heights offshore. That kind of skill you already have from the oil and gas industry. Some engineering and design components are similar.”

On what might be next:

“[I expect to] see the oil and gas majors step in very soon in some of the upcoming lease auction rounds because I think they can see it’s becoming a big market.”

Go deeper: Danish wind giant makes big U.S. move

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