For the second year, the US offshore wind industry gathered for the Ventus Awards gala in Washington DC to celebrate the industry’s accomplishments, milestones, and the individuals, companies and organisations leading the way.

Launched by the sector advocacy body the Business Network for Offshore Wind (BNOW) in collaboration with Recharge and hosted by BNOW CEO Liz Burdock and Recharge Editor-in-Chief Darius Snieckus, the gala celebration was attended by hundreds of industry associates from the developers and utilities to established suppliers and budding start-ups.

“The 2022 Ventus Award winners and finalists embody the tremendous progress we have seen across the industry in just the past year and demonstrate why the best is yet to come for American offshore wind,” said Burdock.

“Up and down our coasts and at every level of the supply chain, leaders are deploying ingenuity, creativity, and excellence to secure a clean energy future, and offshore wind is at the forefront. We congratulate the Ventus Award winners and look forward to seeing the barriers they will continue to break as this fast-growing industry continues to take off.”

Ventus Gala. BNOW CEO Liz Burdock and Recharge Editor-in-Chief Darius Snieckus. Photo: Recharge

The Ventus Awards honour the entire sweep of the burgeoning US offshore wind industry, recognising both its history and trailblazers, ranging from developers Vineyard Wind, the US’ first commercial-scale, fully permitted project to enter construction, through National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Jason Jonkman, who spearheaded floating wind through development of computer modelling of dynamic loads, to the new generation leaders such as virtual reality inventor, 25-year-old Eagle Wu. (See panel below for the full list of winners and nominees.)

“This year’s Ventus Awards coming the day after the US government opened further draft wind energy areas in the Central Atlantic with over 20GW of potential capacity – including the first floating wind acreage off the east coast – underlines the industry-building momentum in the sector,” said Snieckus.

“The Ventus award winners represent the best and brightest in the US leading the charge to expand the sector at a time when the scale of the opportunity is limited only by its success in surmounting 'historic roadblocks' presented by grid and supply chain constraints, as principal deputy under-secretary for infrastructure at the US Department of Energy Kathleen Hogan told our Global Offshore Wind Summit yesterday in DC.”

The industry continues to ride a wave of ebullience that has seen its pipeline grow to 77GW, two massive leasing rounds in the New York Bight and Carolina Long Bay that add some 8GW of potential capacity, and the nation’s first ever floating wind leasing auction scheduled for 6 December off the US state of California.

Two projects are fully permitted and have started onshore construction and offshore cable laying in anticipation of steel in the water starting next spring.

The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is slated to spearhead massive investments in supply chain capacity on investment tax credits aimed at building a domestic manufacturing sector, while the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed last year continues to drive innovation through multiple programmes by the Department of Energy.

New Jersey took a huge step in approving the first-ever US offshore wind planned transmission grid project, a $1bn effort that will enable the coordinated connectivity for 7GW of the state’s nation-leading 11GW target.

While the industry still struggles with obstacles, including surging inflation and interest rates and relentless supply chain turmoil, continued support from the Biden administration, which expanded its 30GW by 2030 goal with the launch of the Floating Wind Shot aimed at seeing 15GW by 2035.

And the winner is...

Advancement in Project Siting & Development

WSP USA for its innovative approach to siting landing and onshore transmission cables in densely populated urban areas.

Finalists in the category were: Ventolines and Vineyard Wind

Health, Safety & Environment Program of the Year

RelyOn Nutec and Massachusetts Maritime Academy for their synergistic virtual and in-person offshore wind training programme that both enhances and speeds up the learning process

Finalists in the category were: Aker Solutions and Fugro

Innovation of the Year

Aker Solutions for its advances in subsea substations that promise to drive efficiencies in at-sea grid development

Finalists in the category were: Friede and Goldman and Keystone Tower Systems

Next-Gen Leadership

Twenty-five year old Eagle Wu (VinciVR) for developing the world’s first Virtual Reality (VR) modules for Global Wind Organization Certified training

Finalists in the category were: Sarah Schweitzer (Vineyard Wind) and Vinny Montemurro (Burns & McDonnell)

Offshore Wind Leadership

Vineyard Wind for being the first US project to be successfully permitted, financed, and enter construction

Finalists in the category were: Con Edison and New York Offshore Wind Technical Working Groups (a program of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority)

Supply Chain Advancement Award

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company for investing into the build of the first US flagged subsea rock installation vessel

Newly added Public Sector category:

Maryland Energy Administration for spearheading the US offshore wind industry

Finalists in the category were: Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

Talent Management Leadership

Orsted for its commitment to using union labour and developing young talent.

Finalists in the category were: Offshore Wind Consultants (OWC) and Haugland Group

Viterna Award for Excellence in Engineering

Jason Jonkman at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for helping launch the floating wind sector through computer modelling of dynamic loads

Finalists in the category were: Rudy Hall of Keystone Engineering and Laila El-Ashmawy of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

Source: Business Network for Offshore Wind