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Ørsted to create US hub to strengthen offshore wind supply chain

Denmark-based renewable energy giant Ørsted A/S said it will open an "innovation hub" in Providence, R.I., to serve the burgeoning offshore wind industry in the U.S.

The facility's purpose will be "to identify, foster, and, where appropriate, finance enterprises related to offshore wind, with a focus on next-generation technology and related innovation in the offshore wind energy field," the company said in a Jan. 15 announcement.

That announcement follows a Jan. 14 announcement by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo that she will sign an executive order aimed at transitioning the state to 100% renewable power by 2030.

Offshore wind will be central to that transition: Raimondo said Rhode Island will build enough offshore wind capacity to power half the state's homes. Rhode Island is the first state in the nation to take power from an offshore wind farm, Ørsted's 29.3-MW Block Island Offshore Wind. In May 2019, state regulators approved 20-year power purchase agreements to take 400 MW from the planned 704-MW Revolution Wind Offshore, owned by Eversource Energy and Ørsted.

As the U.S. enters a new era of offshore wind power, states and companies have been racing to build supply chains to support the fledgling industry. Offshore wind's success in the U.S. will depend on overcoming obstacles such as a shortage of installation vessels and of skilled labor.