DONG acquires US offshore wind lease

The Danish utility has completed the acquisition of a lease from RES Americas off the coast of New Jersey shortly after announcing IPO plans.

Wind development rights for an area off the coast of New Jersey have been transferred from renewable energy company RES Americas Developments to Danish utility DONG Energy, closing a deal that was announced in February.

Located approximately 10 nautical miles offshore and occupying 160,480 acres, the lease area has the potential to accommodate more than 100MW of offshore wind, which could power 500,000 homes in the state.

“DONG Energy’s entry into New Jersey is a great opportunity,” said Thomas Brostrøm, the Danish company’s general manager for North American wind power. “As the world leader of offshore wind development, we look forward to expanding our profile in the US and potentially building an industry.”

The lease for Ocean Wind, as DONG has named the site, is the second such lease the Danish utility has acquired in the US. The first lease, which was acquired in April 2015, gives DONG the right to develop an offshore wind facility near Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts with an installed capacity of up to 100MW. The company is proposing to build and operate a utility-scale offshore wind farm in the area, which it has named Bay State Wind.

As for Ocean Wind, RES Americas, which initially acquired the lease through an auction held by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in November 2015, will continue to support the development of the lease area, DONG said in a statement.

Headquartered in Virum, just outside Copenhagen, DONG has gone from being a regional, coal-intensive utility to becoming the world’s largest offshore wind player with a 26 percent market share in less than a decade. Of its DKr20 ($3.0 billion; €2.7 billion) – DKr23 billion projected EBITDA range for 2016, the company expects DKr10 – DKr12 billion to come from wind.

The company posted DKr18 billion in profits last year. It has 3.7GW of offshore wind farms with secured consent and subsidies currently under construction, including the 1.2GW Hornsea 1, the 582MW Gode Wind 1&2 and the 659MW Walney Extension 1&2 projects.

Earlier this month, the company announced plans to list at least 15 percent of its shares on Nasdaq Copenhagen. The state of Denmark, which currently holds 58.8 percent of DONG, intends to retain a 50.1 percent stake following the IPO.