Ocean Specialists Inc. (OSI) co-exhibited alongside our sister company CSA Ocean Sciences (CSAOS) at this year’s AWEA Offshore conference in Washington DC. With what appeared to be over 1000 attendees, this year’s conference reflected the exploding interest in offshore wind in the US. A market that just a few years ago many were highly skeptical about is gaining tremendous momentum fueled by the recognition and acceptance from local and federal entities, which are strongly backing this important source of renewable energy.
The conference proved to be a great networking event, with attendees ranging from developers to suppliers and from large turnkey engineering firms to small consultancy companies. One could really feel the European presence, both walking around the lobby and listening to conversations, as well as looking at many of the exhibitors. It appears that the industry may be maturing in Europe, with the UK as the only country with new projects on the horizon. Even though this slow down gives many of those companies the bandwidth to tackle projects elsewhere, most countries, including the US, require a local presence, which is part of the reason many of those companies are looking to partner with US companies. This is a perfect time for US companies to forge strategic relationships with our European counterparts to leverage their experience and therefore shortening the learning curve and development cycle in the US.
The agenda seemed structured differently this year, with poster presentations becoming e-posters. In our opinion, even though this format allowed for many presenters in a limited amount of exhibition space, the venue lost the accessibility of walking through a room full of posters and gaining much information in very little time. Maybe in the future AWEA can have a room with rows of flat screens, that would also cycle to new presentations allowing for more presenters, but with longer viewing periods than the current 10-15 minutes.
It was great to see the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, the Honorable Ryan Zinke, as the closing speaker, not only for the important announcements that he made, but also for the significance, with respect to support of an industry, that someone with his status has at a conference.
In closing, OSI would like to thank AWEA for another well-organized event and we look forward to being a part of this leading US offshore wind conference again in 2019.