East Coast Emerges as Hottest New Market for Energy Subsector

David Fessler By David Fessler
Energy and Infrastructure Strategist

Alternative Energy

Atlantic City, New Jersey, was once the gambling capital of the East Coast. Then surrounding states like Pennsylvania and New York began siphoning off many of its high rollers.

At its peak, Atlantic City had 12 casinos operating. But since 2014, five have closed.

That certainly clouded Atlantic City’s employment picture.

New Bedford, Massachusetts, a former whaling hub, is in the same boat. It has big plans to revive its waterfront business by hosting the same industry that just set up shop in Atlantic City.

Between the two cities, they expect to rake in billions of dollars of new investments and create thousands of new jobs.

This industry has nothing to do with gambling, whaling or fishing. But the energy produced would be enough to run all of Atlantic City’s casinos and New Bedford’s waterfront operations.

As it turns out, the U.S. is the hottest new market for offshore wind.

Nearly every state on the East Coast is vying for some aspect of America’s nascent offshore wind sector.

European wind industry giant Orsted just set up its American East Coast headquarters in Atlantic City. And the city of New Bedford just revamped a 1,200-foot length of dockside quays to accommodate the massive weight of offshore wind components.

New Bedford wants to be the operation center that services and supports the first big offshore wind installation in the U.S.

The story is the same up and down the East Coast. Every state from Maine to the Carolinas wants to be in the offshore wind business.

And frankly, their chances are all good. In fact, President Trump is a big supporter of U.S. offshore wind.

His administration wants to streamline the permitting process. And he wants to block off huge areas of the East Coast for developers to lease.

It’s all part of Trump’s “America First” policy intended to boost American jobs and energy production. He hopes offshore wind will help defray the increasing energy demand coming from the Northeast’s dense urban populations.

Foundation components, towers, turbines, blades and other components are all far less expensive if they are made close to their installation sites. We’re talking thousands of new jobs at dozens of new factories.

So it’s no wonder major European offshore wind companies are flocking to the U.S. Orsted is just the tip of the European wind invasion.

The last eight competitive offshore wind lease auctions have all gone to European-backed companies – and they’re paying record amounts.

Last year, Norway’s Equinor paid $42.5 million for an 80,000-acre parcel off of New York’s coast. That was the most ever paid for an individual lease.

And this past May, a partnership between Avangrid and the Copenhagen Infrastructure Fund won a huge contract for offshore wind in Massachusetts.

Investors wanting to capitalize on U.S. offshore wind development need to invest now and then channel Warren Buffett’s patience. That’s because U.S. offshore wind is just starting to take shape.

Investing in a developer is one way to go. Another way is to bank on turbine and equipment manufacturers. Savvy investors might put a little money in each.

Good investing,

Dave