IS BIG OIL BECOMING BIG WIND?

Over the past decade “Big Oil” companies like British Petroleum (BP), Chevron, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Total have been steadily increasing investments into green energy businesses, such as wind farms, solar parks, carbon capture systems and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) has recently entered into a joint venture with EDF Renewables for commercial wind energy development leases off the coast of New Jersey. Shell is a multi-national energy company, headquartered in the Netherlands and incorporated in the United Kingdom. EDF Renewables is a multi-national renewable energy company, headquartered in Paris, France.

The “Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Joint Venture” will develop offshore wind projects located approximately 7.5 miles off the New Jersey coast in federal waters. The offshore leases have an estimated wind capacity of 2,500 MW, which could be tied into the New Jersey power grid.

The Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Joint Venture follows the successful bid by Shell and EDF Resources for commercial wind energy development leases off the coast of Massachusetts. Shell and EDF Resources submitted the high bid of U.S. $135 million for 199 square miles of commercial wind energy development leases in December 2018.

Why is Shell making major investments in offshore wind projects in the United States? Dorine Bosman, Vice President of Shell Wind Development stated “Shell has bold ambitions to grow our renewable power business, and we see great potential in US offshore wind. Gaining access to this acreage in New Jersey complements our successful entry to Massachusetts and our existing renewable generation business.”

Should America be concerned that Big Oil is making significant investments in offshore wind projects? The oil industry has been drilling and producing hydrocarbons around the world for over sixty years. More importantly the industry has unique expertise in the design, construction and installation of platforms, required for offshore wind turbines. Increasing investments in offshore wind will only accelerate the development of renewable energy in America. Big Oil recognizes that the future is renewable energy and they are simply adjusting their business plan.

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