By Kari Williamson

In a panel debate with Steve Cuevas of AREVA Renewables, Frederic Hendrick of Alstom, Vestas’s Scott Keating, Siemens Wind Energy’s Thomas Mousten and Javier Perera of Gamesa, one of the hot topics was how long it would take for an offshore wind power supply chain, and the accompanying jobs, to get established in the USA.

The consensus is that establishing a supply chain won’t necessarily take too long, but it won’t begin to grow roots until offshore wind projects start going in.

“When these actually start to get constructed—that’s when this supply chain will start to move,” said Keating, echoing the sentiments of several others. Or, as Cuevas said, “I don’t think we believe in the Field of Dreams philosophy of if you build it, they will come.”

The panellists said that there must be a market for the product in order for economic activity to start moving. That, they say, requires a commitment at the Federal level taking the form of stable policy for offshore wind.

Bigger turbines

Panellists also said that offshore wind turbines will continue to get bigger, particularly because of the expense that goes with deploying each individual turbine.