Floating Wind Sector Turns To Big Oil For Innovation

HOUSTON—A push to develop floating offshore wind projects off the U.S. coast has led proponents toward the arms of the oil and gas industry.

Hopes are that the oil and gas industry’s technical know-how and experience in areas such as platform designs and mooring systems will help propel the nascent industry in waters offshore the U.S.

“The auto industry didn’t invent the wheel. They just figured out how to get rid of the horse and put an engine on it,” Walt Musial, principal engineer and manager of offshore wind for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), told oil and gas players attending an offshore wind event in Houston recently. “The wind industry didn’t invent floating platforms; you all did.”

Knowledge transfer must take place between the oil and gas industry and the wind industry to move the latter to the next stage, which is development of optimized systems. “That’s what Henry Ford did,” Musial continued.

The issue brought people from the oil and gas and the wind industries together to discuss floating wind energy potential in the U.S. and opportunities for oil and gas players. The gathering was part of the Business Network for Offshore Wind’s Floating Frontiers series.