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Innovating together: highlights from the offshore wind programme at the California-Norway Business Festival

Team Norway proudly hosted a comprehensive full-day offshore wind programme as part of the California-Norway Business Festival in San Francisco on 15 April 2024. The festival was held at the stunning Shack15, in conjunction with the visit of HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway to San Francisco and Seattle on 15-17 April. Published 22 May 2024 (updated 8 Jul 2024) · 3 min read
Three workers standing near a floating offshore wind turbine on land

The offshore wind programme attracted over 100 participants, including Norwegian supply chain companies and key stakeholders for the planned offshore wind developments on the US West Coast. The programme at Shack15 was followed by “Ports of the Future” site visits on 16 April, which included visits to the Port of Richmond, Equinor's facilities, the Port of Oakland and culminated with an offshore wind networking mixer.

Engaging key decision-makers and industry leaders

The programme on 15 April brought together industry leaders, policymakers and key stakeholders from California and Norway, aiming to exchange knowledge, explore new opportunities and strengthen partnerships that could accelerate the development and deployment of floating offshore wind on the US West Coast.

Among the speakers were key California offshore wind stakeholders, including: Jana Ganion, Senior Advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom on Offshore Wind; Elizabeth Huber, Director of the Commission's Siting, Transmission and Environmental Protection Division at the California Energy Commission (CEC); and Jennifer Miller, Chief of the Renewable Energy Section at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

In his remarks, HRH Crown Prince Haakon shared his thoughts on the California-Norway collaboration and being a student at UC Berkeley.
In his remarks, HRH Crown Prince Haakon shared his thoughts on the California-Norway collaboration and his time as a student at UC Berkeley.

Fostering collaboration and leveraging Norwegian expertise

The programme kicked off with a policy panel discussion on the opportunities, challenges and synergies between California and Norway in offshore wind development. This open dialogue facilitated the sharing of best practices, lessons learned and a deeper understanding of each region's unique contexts. The panel laid the groundwork for future cooperation by identifying areas where the two regions can complement each other’s efforts and collaborate to tackle common obstacles.

A business panel brought together executives from all five California offshore wind lease holders – Paul James Sørheim of Equinor, Daniel Birmingham of Invenergy, Scott Morgan of Golden State Wind, Saul Rosser of RWE, and Rick Umoff of Vineyard Offshore – to discuss next steps and urgent challenges for developing the five lease areas off the state’s coast.

Having this forum where developers, suppliers and policymakers can openly share the most pressing challenges has been incredibly valuable. This is how we accelerate the industry.

Paul James Sørheim

Commercial Director at Equinor US West Coast

Highlighting opportunities for knowledge transfer, executives from five leading Norwegian offshore wind supply chain companies – Arill S. Hagland of OneSubsea, Andreas Stavnes Hallan of Aibel, Gordon Wilkinson of DOF Subsea, Frode Støldal of Tampnet, and Emmanuel Martin-Lauzer of Nexans – showcased their companies’ capabilities and shared valuable insights during the “Deep Dive Series: Lessons from the Norwegian Supply Chain”.

This series, facilitated by Jørgen Theodorsen, Director for Offshore Wind in Norwegian Energy Partners (NORWEP), enabled California to tap into Norway’s pioneering experience in offshore wind and apply these lessons to its ambitious development plans for the West Coast.

From left: Moderator Liz Burdock, Oceanic Network; Jana Ganion, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom; Jennifer Miller, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; Jakob Alveberg, Royal Norwegian Embassy in the US; and Anders Norberg, Innovation Norway.
From left: Moderator Liz Burdock, Oceanic Network; Jana Ganion, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom; Jennifer Miller, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; Jakob Alveberg, Royal Norwegian Embassy in the US; and Anders Norberg, Innovation Norway.

Momentum for future collaboration and innovation

The programme provided momentum that will be sustained in events over the coming months, including Floating Wind Days in Haugesund, Offshore Northern Sea (ONS) in Stavanger and WindEnergy Hamburg.

Team Norway eagerly anticipates engaging with Norwegian supply chain companies and continuing to support and facilitate theNorwegian supply chain's ability to deliver on their ambitions for the US West Coast.

We’re excited to build on the groundwork laid in San Francisco, pushing the boundaries of what we can achieve in offshore wind in the upcoming months’ events and beyond.

Anders Nordberg

Head of Offshore Wind at Innovation Norway.

The offshore wind programme at the California-Norway Business Festival solidified Norway’s position as a key player in offshore wind developments in California. The programme not only highlighted the immediate benefits of international cooperation but also set the stage for future advancements. The insights shared and partnerships formed promise to drive the industry forward, making this a landmark event for all involved in accelerating the development of sustainable energy in California.

Written by Jonathan Solomon Hailemariam, Innovation Norway