US offshore wind sites will cost major sums in the future

If there was ever any doubt that oil majors entering offshore wind would transform the entire industry, that doubt is now finally laid to rest, says analyst after a record auction for sites that are in fact not particularly attractive.

A lot has happened since the US's first offshore wind farm, pilot project Block Island, was installed. On the other hand, auction prices have exploded. | Photo: PR/Block Island Wind Farm

In August, the US held what the Trump administration has dubbed the largest sale of offshore licenses in history. An area in the Gulf of Mexico corresponding to the size of Poland was up for auction, attracting interest from oil industry heavyweights such as Shell and Equinor. In the end, an area roughly the size of Luxembourg was subscribed for a price of USD 178 million.

Shell and Equinor were at it again on both Thursday and Friday in Massachusetts, this time around not hunting for oil and gas fields but rather for potential offshore wind energy sites. After two days of intense bidding on every last square meter, the oil majors ended up winning alongside Vineyard Wind – with proceeds of USD 405 million going the US Department of the Treasury.

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