Denmark now controls U.S. East Coast offshore wind market

Deepwater Wind Sold; Montauk Plan Still A Go?

Deepwater Wind, the controversial would-be developer of the South Fork Wind farm off Montauk, has been sold to a Danish-government oil and natural gas company called Ørsted.

Ørsted is a huge power company with extensive experience in wind-generated energy. The wind industry products generate 8.5 percent of Denmark’s gross national product.

There has been some speculation that Deepwater, which has several projects in the works offshore, would be unable to raise the necessary capital to complete the project. Its previous owner was D.E. Shaw & Co., a hedge fund. This puts the matter to rest: Shaw will be paid $512 million for 100 percent of the company.

Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind, said this week all of Deepwater’s current staff will remain in place and its Amagansett office will remain open.

“Now, zero wind companies are American,” said Bonne Brady, a longtime Deepwater critic and a representative of the commercial fishing industry. “Read it and see the bigger picture as to why all of these foreign oil and gas companies are moving in, to make more, nothing less, oh yeah, and avail themselves of rolling year-to-year tax credits and help the U.S. utility companies maintain the RECs [Renewable Energy Credits] so they can continue bilking consumers.”

Brady said all of the Denmark waters around the wind mills are “NO GO zones — no fishing. “All the fishing villages on shore have been replaced.

The two companies’ offshore wind assets and organizations will be merged into the leading U.S. offshore wind platform with the most comprehensive geographic coverage and the largest pipeline of development capacity, the companies said in a joint press release. “Deepwater Wind, the leading U.S. offshore wind developer, has built an attractive and geographically diverse portfolio of projects along the U.S. East Coast,” the release added.

Critics have pointed out only one small project off the cost of Block Island has been built, and the Deepwater South Fork Wind project faces considerable opposition, a long environmental review by New York State, and potential lawsuits from East Hampton and Wainscott residents.

“Ørsted is one of the world’s great clean energy companies and real pioneers in the offshore wind sector. We could not be more pleased with this combination, which will bring together two great teams to realize an enormous clean energy resource for coastal populations in the U.S. and continue to make history,” Grybowski said.

Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind and president of Ørsted North America, said, “Deepwater Wind has done a fantastic job as a first-mover in U.S. offshore wind, and I look forward to joining and integrating the two U.S. organizations. We have exciting times ahead of us delivering large-scale clean energy projects to households and businesses along the eastern seaboard.”

The sale brings together “Deepwater Wind’s longstanding expertise in originating, developing and permitting offshore wind projects in the U.S. and Ørsted’s unparalleled track record in engineering, constructing, and operating large-scale offshore wind farms,” said Bryan Martin, director of D.E. Shaw &Co.

“Today’s announcement consolidates Ørsted’s position as the global market leader in offshore wind with a strong foothold across Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific,” Martin added.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com