RWE hailed a coup for its US offshore wind ambitions as it hired Amanda Lefton – former director of US regulatory body the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) – as its vice president of development, east.

Lefton – who was credited as one of the pioneers of the US industry during her time with BOEM from February 2021 to January 2023 – will lead RWE’s development plans along the east coast, said the German utility. That currently includes the largest lease area in the New York Bight where it plans to build its 3GW Community Wind project in partnership with National Grid.

Under her watch the industry moved from its demonstration phase to commercialisation with the approval of the pioneering Vineyard Wind and South Fork Wind arrays.

Lefton spearheaded the start of President Joe Biden administration’s drive towards 30GW of offshore wind by 2030 with an ambitious agenda of project reviews and offshore wind area auctions.

Sam Eaton, CEO of RWE Offshore Wind Holdings, said: “Amanda has successfully created significant momentum for the offshore wind industry in the US. Her know-how navigating all levels of government has resulted in the approval and now construction of the nation’s first two offshore wind projects."

Lefton said: “RWE has a strong track record of taking projects from conception to reality which is the precise expertise needed to deliver offshore wind to our states.”

Prior to BOEM, Lefton was first assistant secretary for energy and environment for the state of New York, where she led twelve agencies in implementing climate and renewable energy strategies, including the landmark 2019 Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act that launched the state’s offshore wind industry.

Her appointment by RWE comes just a few months after she was named as senior policy director at Washington DC law firm Foley Hoag.