EnBW North America’s president and chief executive Bill White has joined a growing chorus of industry leaders highlighting offshore wind’s potential role in economic recovery post Covid-19
Speaking at the IPF Virtual Conference in the US on 21 April 2020, Mr White, who was appointed to the company in October 2018 following a long career in offshore wind in the US, said the northeast US – which is one of the areas worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic – presents a ‘unique opportunity’ for the US Department of Interior and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to play a critical role in recovery.
Mr White said they could do so through the construction of multi-billion dollar offshore wind projects, that would generate thousands of new jobs.
Mr White recommended a number of ‘non-cost actions’ that could be taken that could help boost recovery.
These included approving the delayed Vineyard Wind project this year, and prioritising approval of other projects, including Empire Wind, Mayflower Wind, Park City Wind and the Sunrise Wind projects.
Industry leaders have long urged BOEM to line up more lease auctions for offshore wind in 2020 and hold firm to directives to create a predictable regulatory environment. They say a long-term pipeline of wind lease opportunities will provide the necessary points of reference to plan future investments.
Mr White said identifying additional lease areas in the Gulf of Maine, Mid-Atlantic and southeast should all also be considered.
Prior to joining EnBW North America, Mr White was among the most significant leaders in the advancement of offshore wind in the US. He was closely involved in the 10-year effort to develop the Massachusetts offshore wind market and led the state’s efforts on the federal leasing process for offshore wind development, as well as transmission planning, environmental surveys, supply chain, workforce development and stakeholder engagement efforts related to offshore wind.
Mr White also led the construction of the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, a first-in-the-US facility designed for the staging, assembly, and deployment of offshore wind projects, including the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the US.
Previously, he served in the White House as a Special Assistant to the President during the Clinton Administration and worked at the US Department of State.