U.S. Working Hard to Boost Wind Energy, Adviser Says in Denmark

Source: By Peter Levring, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Donald Trump’s administration is working “quite aggressively” to increase the use of renewable energy in the U.S. as part of the president’s plans to boost American energy independence, a senior adviser said during a fact-finding visit to Denmark.

“The scope of this travel investigation is to learn best practices, technology and learn about certain administrative protocols,” Vincent DeVito, the energy counselor to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, told reporters in Copenhagen on Tuesday. “We hope to continue our robust expansion of offshore wind in the United States.”

Denmark is home to the world’s biggest turbine maker, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, and Orsted A/S, the world’s biggest operator of offshore wind parks. The Nordic country set a record last year by obtaining 43.4 percent of its electricity from wind. Its government now wants renewables to cover 50 percent of the country’s total energy consumption by 2030 and to abandon fossil fuels completely by 2050.

While in Denmark, DeVito said the Trump administration was expanding the amount of federal funds available for offshore wind investments and that its choice of energy sources would be dictated my market considerations alone. Trump had promised to bail out U.S. coal producers during the election campaign.

Current U.S. off-shore wind capacity is located off Rhode Island and totals about 30 megawatts. Denmark’s totals 1.3 gigawatts. Asked whether the U.S. planned to develop more offshore wind parks beyond Rhode Island’s, DeVito said: “There are renewable energy task forces with a variety of states and we’re working on those protocols and collaborations quite aggressively.”

DeVito’s visit follows an information-sharing agreement signed by Danish Energy Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt during a visit to the U.S. last year.