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    Orsted's Americas CEO on Fixing What Went Wrong in Wind Power

    enJune 06, 2024

    Podcast Summary

    • Automotive and Wind Industry TransformationsThe automotive industry moves towards electric luxury cars while the wind industry faces complexities in integrating renewable energy sources into existing infrastructure, both impacted by the Inflation Reduction Act

      The automotive industry and the energy sector are both undergoing significant transformations, each presenting unique challenges. The BMW 7 Series showcases the evolution of luxury automobiles, offering advanced features and a shift towards electric power. Simultaneously, the energy sector, specifically the wind industry, is grappling with the complexities of integrating renewable energy sources into existing infrastructure. The Inflation Reduction Act aims to accelerate this transition, but it comes with complications such as supply chain disruptions and rising costs. David Hardy, CEO of the Americas division at Vestas, a global wind power leader, will join us on the podcast to discuss these challenges and provide insights into the future of the wind industry.

    • Offshore wind industry challengesThe offshore wind industry in the US faced significant challenges due to ambitious growth expectations, bad timing, rising interest rates, and industry-specific inflation, leading to cancellations and a focus on financially viable projects.

      The offshore wind industry in the US faced significant challenges due to a combination of factors, including ambitious growth expectations, bad timing, rising interest rates, and industry-specific inflation. These challenges led to a reset in the industry, resulting in the cancellation of some late-stage projects and a focus on completing projects with a reasonable spread to WACC (Weighted Average Cost of Capital). The decision to continue or cancel projects was based on a combination of financial considerations and strategic investments. Despite the setbacks, the industry is still moving forward with the completion of America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm and the construction of two large commercial projects.

    • Supply chain risks in offshore wind projectsCompanies may cancel projects due to supply chain risks, such as potential delays in foundations, turbines, and vessels, which can lead to significant knock-on effects and require a shift in resources. Competition for resources intensifies in the rapidly growing offshore wind industry, making supply chain management crucial for project success.

      Companies, like Orsted, make strategic decisions to cancel projects based on various risks and uncertainties, particularly those related to supply chain challenges. In the case of Orsted, they faced new global supply chain risks for the Ocean Wind 1 project, which included potential delays in foundations, turbines, and vessels. These delays could lead to significant knock-on effects, requiring the project to shift, and potentially causing suppliers to claw back on favorable pricing. The company weighed these risks against the known challenges of the South Fork project and decided to cancel Ocean Wind 1 to mitigate risk, focus resources, and increase chances of success for other projects. The offshore wind industry's rapid growth globally has intensified the competition for resources, making supply chain management a crucial factor in project success.

    • Offshore wind supply chain challengesThe offshore wind industry faces a significant supply and demand imbalance for key components, creating a chicken-and-egg situation where the industry won't commit to projects until the supply chain is ready, but the supply chain won't build until demand is locked in. The Jones Act adds another challenge to building out the US offshore wind industry.

      The offshore wind industry is facing a significant supply and demand imbalance, particularly for key components like HVDC systems and vessels. Some companies don't have the financial resources to ramp up production quickly, and the industry's long cycle makes it difficult to commit to large-scale projects before all necessary permits and agreements are in place. This creates a chicken-and-egg situation where the supply chain wants demand locked in before building, but the industry won't commit until the supply chain is ready. The Jones Act, which requires US-flagged vessels for transporting equipment between US ports, adds another challenge to building out the US offshore wind industry. Orsted, a leading company in the industry, has been supportive of the Jones Act but has had to find workarounds in the absence of Jones Act-compliant vessels. The industry is working on building out the necessary fleet, but it's a hindrance to cost-effective offshore wind development in the US. Companies are considering building their own transport vessels and supply chains, but the capital-intensive nature of offshore wind projects makes this a challenging prospect for most.

    • Demand signals for renewable energy projectsConsistent demand signals are crucial for the supply chain to invest in renewable energy projects and meet the demand for components and infrastructure. State demand and offtake, along with tax incentives, are key drivers for financing renewable energy projects.

      For energy companies like Orsted, providing strong demand signals is crucial for the supply chain to make necessary investments and meet the demand for components and infrastructure needed for renewable energy projects. Orsted, as an energy company, aims to build an American industry by supporting the Jones Act, which includes building Jones Act compliant vessels, despite the challenges it poses. The consistency and importance of the demand signal for electrons and infrastructure are vital in the energy sector, especially in renewable energy. Orsted recognizes the difficulties in financing renewable energy projects due to uncertainty around future pricing and demand. However, they believe that state demand and offtake, along with tax incentives, are driving the revenue streams needed for financing.

    • Offshore wind financing complicationsLarge tax credits and third-party monetization add costs to offshore wind projects in the US, but investing in infrastructure and adjusting the cost of capital could lead to subsidy-free projects.

      The financing of offshore wind projects in the US is complicated by the large tax credits and the need for third-party monetization, which adds costs. The lack of financing isn't solely due to the lack of off-takers, but also the change in cost of capital. To get these projects off the ground, there needs to be an adjustment in the willingness to pay for the energy. The US needs to invest in ports, ships, and infrastructure to lower the cost, and eventually, subsidy-free projects could be achievable. However, the high upfront costs make the sector sensitive to interest rates, and the permitting process can be lengthy due to administrative support and regulatory hurdles.

    • Offshore Wind Energy Challenges and ProgressDespite challenges from a backlog, understaffing, and new regulations, offshore wind energy is making progress with several projects permitted. The industry's benefits, including job creation, infrastructure development, and energy security, make it an important area for continued growth. The Inflation Reduction Act's tax credits provide stability and encourage new partnerships.

      The current administration's efforts to advance offshore wind energy in the US have faced challenges due to a backlog from previous administrations, understaffing, and new regulatory processes. However, with several offshore wind projects now permitted, there's progress being made. Looking forward, offshore wind energy is expected to play a significant role in meeting America's increasing electricity demand due to factors like EV adoption, electric heating, and data centers. The industry's bipartisan benefits, including job creation, infrastructure development, and energy security, make it an important area for continued growth. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has positively impacted the offshore wind industry by providing a 10-year tax credit with the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC), offering more stability and reducing the disruptive stop-start nature of the industry. The IRA also allows for the transferability of tax credits, enabling more companies to take advantage of them, leading to potential new partnerships and opportunities.

    • IRA incentives for renewable energy projectsThe Inflation Reduction Act offers tax incentives for renewable energy projects, including up to 50% tax credits that can be monetized, 10% bonus for projects built in energy communities, and 10% bonus for domestic content. Careful planning and sequencing are crucial due to long timelines and potential supply chain disruptions.

      The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) offers tax incentives for renewable energy projects, including up to 50% of eligible basis tax credits that can be monetized. These incentives include an additional 10% for projects built in energy communities, which can be historical traditional energy communities or contaminated brownfield areas. Another 10% bonus is given for domestic content, with varying requirements for domestic production and labor. These incentives aim to create a larger pool of tax investors and support the domestic industry. The conversation highlighted the importance of careful planning and sequencing in the energy market, as the balance sheet of suppliers and long timelines can make the supply response less immediate to demand signals. The IRA's implementation faces challenges due to the combination of bad timing, with the European offshore wind industry's growth and the ramp-up process in the US, and potential supply chain disruptions.

    • Unexpected ConnectionsLooking for love or new experiences? Consider unexpected places like local dog shelters or trying sour gummy worms, both offer opportunities for unexpected connections and discoveries.

      Love and connections can be found in unexpected places. Pedigree encourages people to look for love at their local dog shelters on June 7th, offering to reimburse adoption fees. Meanwhile, Trolli invites consumers to awaken their senses with its sour gummy worms, offering a burst of unexpected flavors and colors. Both messages emphasize the importance of connections and discovering new experiences. If you're a Bloomberg subscriber, don't forget to connect your account for ad-free listening. And for more Odd Lots content, visit bloomberg.com/oddlots or join the Discord community.

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