Clean Energy CEO Admits Offshore Wind Is ‘Terrible Policy’

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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The CEO of a Fortune 200 renewable energy company has no interest in investing in offshore wind projects, suggesting they are uneconomical and unreliable.

“It is a moonshot in terms of building in terms of finding people who actually know what they’re doing from a construction standpoint. It’s terrible energy policy and that it’s really expensive,” NextEra Energy CEO James Robo said, during a first quarter earnings conference call on Monday. “And so that’s why we’re not going to be doing offshore wind. On — in terms of international, this industry has — honestly a pretty lousy track record in international.”

Robo’s comments were in response to a question asking why NextEra had not made any bids on offshore wind. Robo, who had worked on offshore wind initiatives in years prior, said he learned the effort was simply not worth the time and resources.

“So it is, it is just — it’s bad energy policy, and it’s bad business. And so we don’t tend to do either of those things.”

NextEra’s criticism, however, comes at a time when U.S. interest in offshore wind has never been higher, with many environmentalists believing wind to be a viable energy alternative to fossil fuels. Earlier this month, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed leasing 390,000 acres of land off the Massachusetts coast for wind generation. The newly minted governor of New Jersey signed an executive order to boost the growth of offshore wind installations. Massachusetts and New York are also looking at building up their offshore wind sector.

Energy policy in these coastal blue states don’t appear to reflect the outlook NextEra — a company that has been in the renewable energy business for years — has for offshore wind. Executives have reportedly been deriding the industry for a long time.

NextEra’s Energy Resources CEO Armando Pimentel made similar comments in 2017, according to Utility Dive.

“There are an enormous number of hurdles … and then you get to the biggest hurdle, which is just, it is bad economics for customers,” Pimentel reportedly stated amid a conference call in 2017. “It is really not good for customers to be doing offshore wind relative to solar or onshore wind. So to say that we are not fans would be an understatement.”

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