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Offshore Energy: Favorable Winds for Renewables?

The Global Europe Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center and European Embassies in Washington D.C. are inviting you to a virtual event on offshore wind during Earth Week.

Date & Time

Apr. 21, 2021
10:00am – 11:00am ET


Offshore wind farms have become an important part of global energy markets with investments steadily rising over the last years. The “Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy” from the European Commission aims to make offshore wind capacity hit at least 60 GW by 2030. The U.S. government just recently announced a plan that sets a target to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, which the administration said would be enough to power 10 million homes and cut 78 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

Join us during the Smithsonian's Earth Optimism Week on April 21 at 10AM ET/ 4PM CET for a conversation with European and American representatives of offshore wind projects about the potential for the use of offshore winds on both sides of the Atlantic, the role it has in the fight against climate change, and new innovations that are driving implementation.This conversation is part of a transatlantic green initiative organized by the Global Europe Program and European Embassies in Washington D.C.


Bill White, Head of U.S. Offshore Wind, Avangrid Renewables

“This is a 30-year industry that started in 1991 in Denmark […] we’re 30 years into it, the Europeans are driving this industry and of course Asia is now starting to pick up. And of course, here in America we’ve been treading water, we’ve been stalled, we’ve been doing a lot of talking unfortunately, but we’re now really almost 15 years into this dream of really—finally—moving forward.”

“You can make the argument for climate change urgency, you can make the argument that we have to diversify our power supply, you can make the argument that there are going to be significant clean energy jobs here, but in the end most people thought, ‘ugh, it’s just too darn expensive’.”

“Right now I think that the biggest opportunities are on the East Coast, with fixed-bottom technology we believe that is the most cost-effective, that’s the most proven, but in order to think about the new frontier—the Gulf of Mexico is an interesting opportunity particularly because of the existing infrastructure in industry mainly from the oil and gas industry, that can compliment the offshore wind industry, however the wind speed in the Gulf is a lot lower than it is up in the northeast so the actual energy capacity is a bit lower.”

Damian Bednarz, External Affairs Director, EnBW

“There’s a lot of best practices out there in Europe and they’ve definitely had the lead in this for a very long time, but there’s a very American flavor to how we’re going to bring this here in the U.S. and we’re very much interested in learning and sharing that experience here and standing up this industry that is a once-in-a-generation economic opportunity, but it’s also key to addressing our climate goals.”

With a commitment from the Biden administration of 30 gigawatts by 2030, it gives a lot more support to get those investments going, it gives more opportunities for the supply chain which is critical, and manufacturing to make decisions on where we can stand this industry up in the U.S., I think those are key parts that have been part of a hindrance […] I believe it’s going to be increasing with that kind of confidence increase the amount of investment you’ll see here in the United States to meet that goal.”

“There’s a great pipeline of projects lined up, it’s an opportunity to move those forward. Resources are needed. If you think about, just the sheer volume of projects that are headed their way—the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in the Department of the Interior as well as the allied agencies at the federal level—they need that support, they need those resources to effectively review, responsibly and proactively get these projects going to meet the climate emergency that we’re in.”

Matt Morrissey, Head of Market Affairs & Strategy, Ørsted Offshore North America

“The Biden administration being in place—with key individuals in that administration having working knowledge of this industry and how it can coexist with other industries is a critical reason to be very optimistic—and there are issues along the way that will cause some difficulty, but in our view we’re at a place now where we’re seeing—as we’ve seen in other markets—a look forward now and an alignment between federal, states and local authorities that we’ve never seen before.”

“It’s up to us to deliver on our promises. As we’re […] building into these projects we more than ever have to show that we’ve always been sincere and how we are going to bring jobs to the U.S. through offshore wind.”

“If we do our part and support government to do its part—the fact is we are in the midst of a climate crisis, we are in the midst of a post-COVID economic downturn […]—we’re as shovel ready as any industry or frankly, project, is or are in the U.S. and we’re very very optimistic about where things stand on that.” 

Hosted By

Global Europe Program

The Global Europe Program addresses vital issues affecting the European continent, US-European relations, and Europe’s ties with the rest of the world. We investigate European approaches to critical global issues: digital transformation, climate, migration, global governance. We also examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our program activities cover a wide range of topics, from the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE to European energy security, trade disputes, challenges to democracy, and counter-terrorism. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media.  Read more

Thank you for your interest in this event. Please send any feedback or questions to our Events staff.