With state officials eyeing $56 billion of wind farm projects off the American coastline, developers are worried the turbines will need to be stamped with a big “Made in the U.S.A.”
Each structure is enormous — almost half the height of the Empire State Building. Most all of them are constructed in Europe, at least for now. As states in the U.S. Northeast jump into wind power, they’re betting they can create their own windmill industry. It’ll be a costly but perhaps necessary move, especially as President Donald Trump pushes for more factory jobs and picks fights with those making parts abroad.
“There’s no way of hiding that every single state, be it here in the U.S. or be it countries in Europe, are insisting on everything sort of being local,” said Henrik Poulsen, CEO of Orsted A/S, the Danish company that is the world’s largest offshore-wind developer. “It is an equation that’s very difficult to solve without the whole technology becoming much more expensive.”
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Citing national security risks, President Obama on Friday blocked a Chinese company from owning four wind farm projects in northern Oregon near a Navy base where the U.S. military flies unmanned drones and electronic-warfare planes on training missions.
It was the first time in 22 years that a U.S. president has blocked such a foreign business deal.
Obama’s decision was likely to be another irritant in the increasingly tense economic relationship between the U.S. and China. It also comes against an election-year backdrop of intense criticism from Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney, who accuses Obama of not being tough enough with China.
In his decision, Obama ordered Ralls Corp., a company owned by Chinese nationals, to divest its interest in the wind farms it purchased earlier this year near the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility in Boardman, Ore.
The case reached the president’s desk after the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, known as CFIUS, determined there was no way to address the national security risks posed by the Chinese company’s purchases. Only the president has final authority to prohibit a transaction.
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