Floating wind pioneer BW Ideol has made its lead-off strategic hire in North America with the appointment of Christopher Dorman as US head of development.

Dorman, who comes to the new role from Irish developer Mainstream Renewable Power, will be in charge of building the Vandenberg floating wind pilot in California, in the race to be one of the first arrays installed off the US west coast, as well as spearheading BW Ideol’s bids in the upcoming federal offshore lease auctions on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

“Following BW Ideol and other floating developers success in the recent ScotWind auctions it is clear that floating wind will play a massive role in decarbonising the US grid on both coasts,” said BW Ideol.

“Chris brings over a decade of significant renewable energy experience to the role and was recently recognised as a finalist in the Next-Gen Leadership category of the recent BNOW [Business Network for Offshore Wind] Ventus Awards.”

Dorman, who will report to BW Ideol chief sales officer Bruno Geschier, has also served as chair of BNOW’s floating wind working group permitting subcommittee, and sits on the American Clean Power California offshore wind permitting working group.

BW Ideol in October announced its 40MW-plus California array had reached environmental assessment stage, advancing in a permitting process that may turn the project into one of the first wind farms off the state on the US Pacific Coast.

Floating wind projects are increasingly being touted as key to the US meeting the Biden administration's ambitious goal of having 30GW off offshore plant turning by 2030, with Bureau of Ocean Energy Management director Amanda Lefton saying recently that with the global sector still on the brink of industrialisation, the US was well positioned to move swiftly to the front of the sector pack.

In September, California governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law moving ahead long-anticipated plans to develop floating wind in the US Pacific by mandating state agencies to prepare a concrete plan to advance some 4GW of projects.

A first array in the US Atlantic, off Maine, is now firmly in the frame following hand-in of a lease application by the state to BOEM for a 144MW project.

The fast-emerging sector is gearing up to build-out at a rate of knots this decade, with some forecasts suggesting as much as 16.5GW could be deployed globally by 2030 – though some analyst groups worry slow-evolving permitting process could keep this figure as low as 5GW.