America’s Green Energy Disaster is Getting Worse

By: Georgia | Published: Jun 04, 2024

Renewable energy efforts in the northeastern U.S. are facing significant hurdles. Inflation and disruptions in the supply chain are forcing developers to delay or even scrap plans for offshore wind farms. 

These challenges are putting a major dent in the Biden administration’s vision to expand wind technologies.

Shell Reverts to Oil and Gas

Shell is pulling back from its offshore wind energy investments, redirecting focus towards its foundational oil and gas business. 

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A bright and busy Shell gas station during the day, showcasing the company’s brand and service offerings

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A Shell spokesperson explained to Bloomberg, “We are concentrating on select markets and segments to deliver the most value for our investors and customers.” This strategic pivot includes substantial job reductions in their wind energy division.

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Turbulent Times for Siemens Gamesa

Siemens Gamesa, a heavyweight in the wind turbine industry, is grappling with severe economic pressures. This strain has led to a significant decision to reduce its global workforce by 15%.

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A woman walking past large Gamesa wind turbine parts lined up on a storage field, indicating the scale of wind energy components

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The company has encountered considerable financial turmoil, evidenced by a staggering €4.6 billion loss in 2023. With difficulties persisting into 2024, it’s clear Siemens Gamesa is navigating deep waters in an increasingly troubled wind sector.

Missed Targets in Global Wind Energy

The goals for the global floating offshore wind market are proving too ambitious, with recent surveys like Westwood’s predicting under 3 gigawatts of new capacity by 2030. 

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A serene landscape featuring a line of wind turbines against a clear sky, demonstrating onshore wind energy generation

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This forecast falls far short of previous optimistic expectations.

Stumbling Blocks in Wind Expansion

Westwood’s analysis highlights significant barriers to growth in the offshore wind sector, including the absence of standardized floating technology, constrained manufacturing capabilities, and inadequate port infrastructure. 

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Offshore wind turbines standing in the sea with a dramatic sunset in the background

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Each factor is critically hindering the sector’s expansion.

Industry Seeks Government Lifeline

The wind energy sector, struggling to gain momentum, is calling for more robust government support. 

A view of the White House's south facade, showing the iconic building and lawn

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Westwood emphasizes the need for “more specific policy and regulatory support for technology development” to help navigate these substantial barriers.

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Political Headwinds for President Biden

The challenges in offshore wind development could pose political risks for President Biden, particularly as his reelection approaches. 

President Joe Biden sitting at his desk in the Oval Office, engaging in a discussion, with the American flag and the Presidential seal in the background

Source: POTUS/X

His goal to install 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 is looking increasingly ambitious and potentially out of reach.

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Financial and Regulatory Challenges Derail Projects

Economic pressures have negatively affected several major offshore wind initiatives, with developers like Orsted and Shell withdrawing from significant projects. 

Aerial view of multiple offshore wind turbines installed in the ocean

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Other efforts are stalling due to financial and regulatory issues.

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Successes in a Sea of Challenges

Despite numerous setbacks, some projects are making headway. Vineyard Wind 1 and South Fork Wind are now operational, providing renewable energy to Massachusetts and New York, respectively. 

Close-up view of a single offshore wind turbine with a clear blue sky and distant land visible in the background

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These projects represent key successes amid broader industry struggles.

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Biden’s Wind Energy Goal Far Off

The active projects currently contribute less than 1% of the Biden administration’s 30 GW target. 

President Biden speaking at a podium during a congressional session, with attendees and photographers capturing the moment

Source: POTUS/X

With the 2030 deadline looming, closing this gap presents a daunting challenge.

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Doubts Cloud Financial Outlook for Offshore Wind

The economic foundation of large-scale offshore wind projects is facing growing skepticism. As these initiatives increasingly lean on government subsidies and grapple with climbing utility costs, concerns are mounting. 

A large installation vessel setting up wind turbines at sea, with a helicopter flying nearby

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This financial strain is testing the limits of both public support and governmental patience, raising questions about the long-term viability of this green energy strategy.

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Rocky Road Ahead for U.S. Wind Energy

As we approach 2030, the journey for the U.S. offshore wind industry looks increasingly daunting. 

A worker in a red jacket performing maintenance on a wind turbine, standing on the nacelle high above the sea

Source: Wikimedia Commons

To meet the ambitious targets set for wind energy, the industry must navigate a maze of technical, financial, and regulatory hurdles. 

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