BizMDOSW: Offshore wind market ripe for U.S. tech surge (Interview)

The United States has a lot to offer on the digitization of offshore wind, especially regarding artificial intelligence which can make the supply chain more efficient and potentially speed up the permitting and siting processes, Liz Burdock, President and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, said in an interview with Offshore WIND.

Liz Burdock, President and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind; Source: Navingo BV

The U.S. can excel in the whole area of technology and software and can offer the wider offshore wind industry much quicker gathering and synthesizing of data, Burdock said at the Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference (OEEC) in Amsterdam.

The states are dealing with cybersecurity lessons that can be applied to the European market, Burdock adds, emphasizing that it just remains to bring the technology companies into the industry.

“It’s just getting those innovative companies to understand the offshore wind market and what the potential opportunity is world-wide. It is a USD 170 billion market that is going to be developed, so it is a huge market for them, it is just a matter of whether they will see the opportunity and diversify it in the sector,” Burdock said.

The United States has already contributed to the offshore wind market by sharing expertise from the oil & gas industry it derived from, Burdock said. However, it does not stop there. Burdock believes further lessons from oil & gas can be extrapolated, specifically to the area of floating offshore wind.

Currently home to only one operational offshore wind farm, the 30MW Block Island, Burdock claims there is a lot the U.S. can learn from Europe about the development of the market, including lessons on health and safety, training, development of required port infrastructure, as well as efficiency and innovation.

I feel that Europe can bring over innovative solutions that might not be as accepted in the European market because it has been operating for 20 years and sometimes you get set in your patterns. But the U.S. is a blank slate and there is ability to bring over innovations that we can learn from to help drive down costs even further.”

The U.S. is also using the European know-how about the supply chain as the local one is “pretty nascent.” Burdock claims that understanding coopetition is one of the important lessons as there will always be competition, but the industry is big and there is more than enough work for everyone if there is a large enough supply chain pipeline.

The Business Network for Offshore Wind is also trying to move the concept of coopetition above company-level by illustrating to the states that they can cooperate and compete at the same time.

“Where two businesses may compete for the primary contract, they will probably end up working together to deliver the project. That is one thing we have learned, and we are already seeing it now in the pre-development stages in the U.S.,” according to Burdock.

A standards-setting process is now taking place in the states and a lot of the work being done will include lessons learned from Europe, as well as incorporating them into the national standards, Burdock concluded.

Read the rest of the interview on our sister website where the article was originally published on November 8, 2018.

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