The bipartisan US infrastructure bill, due to go before the US House of Representatives following the Senate’s approval in early August, contains $73 billion for the modernization of the nation's power grid. A more reliable and expanded grid will be seen as a timely boon for the emerging US Offshore Wind (OSW) industry as electricity infrastructure upgrades will facilitate an easier integration of intermittent renewable energy sources.
President Joe Biden called the $1T infrastructure bill “the most significant long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century,” but for the offshore wind community this policy announcement is as much a pledge of validation as it is a measure of commercial viability. After all, the US OSW industry has been dogged by bureaucratic setbacks and roadblocks in recent years, but this public office commitment to a comprehensive offshore energy overhaul looks unstoppable now.
That was certainly the celebratory mood at the International Partnering Forum 2021 (IPF), organized by The Business Network for Offshore Wind. IPF is the premier offshore wind conference in the Western hemisphere and, from August 24 – 26, united professionals from the global OSW supply chain in Richmond, VA for a three-day program of education and business development. OSI was pleased to join forces with our sister company CSA Ocean Sciences at this year’s event.
Not only were the three days extremely well-attended, the in-person conference was a much-welcomed return to face-to-face meetings and networking. Further, the caliber of the presentations and exhibiting companies served as testament to the surging interest and investment into the US OSW industry.
The conference welcomed delegates from both national and international firms, with a strong representation from the gulf states. Of note, many companies serving the oil and gas industry in Texas and Louisiana were in attendance and, based on the conversations with the OSI team, are looking for opportunities to leverage their technical offshore expertise and equipment to ultimately support the unfolding needs of wind projects in the Northeastern US.
When compared to previous OSW conferences in the US, much of the focus was on advancing the service supply chain. With fewer financers and insurers present this year, there is no question that the industry has finally transitioned from a conceptual planning stage to the implementation phase.
OSI and affiliates met with offshore developers and suppliers alike to discuss our marine operations and power cable network development services. As a small business integrated contractor, OSI can offer end-to-end project management, supplier integration, engineering design, and the development of technical solutions for complex, multi-stakeholder OSW projects. OSI’s full-service offering is underpinned by our design and fabrication capabilities and subject matter expertise in submarine cable installation and protection.
With the Biden administration’s pledge to champion offshore wind energy and ultimately deliver 30 gigawatts by 2030, the role of events like IPF—business forums in the truest sense—will prove critical to scalable progress. We look forward to meeting business partners old and new at IPF 2022, which is slated for April 22 – 24 at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, NJ. With three active wind projects, two nacelle manufacturing facilities, a monopile facility, and a wind superport, New Jersey’s position as a polestar for the offshore wind supply chain, will make next year’s event a hub for OSW business development.