German engineering group Siemens Energy aims for a slice of the $2.3 trillion U.S. President Joe Biden plans to spend on infrastructure, including power grids and renewables, as the company targets higher sales in its biggest market.
Biden last week set out his plans for a transformation of the U.S. economy with massive spending on low carbon technology as well as more traditional infrastructure.
For Siemens Energy, the United States accounts for $7 billion in revenues, or about a fifth of its total, but it sees great potential for growth, especially in offshore wind.
“We see great opportunities for wind energy, onshore but above all in the area of offshore,” Tim Oliver Holt, who is in charge of Siemens Energy’s U.S. business, told Reuters. He also pointed to transmission systems as a growth market.
To better capture growth in the world’s top economy, Siemens Energy, which was spun off from Siemens AG last year, is considering whether to set up local production for offshore wind turbines on the U.S. East Coast, an area central to a plan announced last week to deploy 30 gigawatts by 2030.
Siemens Energy owns 67% in Siemens Gamesa, the world’s largest maker of offshore wind turbines, which so far only caters for onshore clients in the United States via two production sites.
“Of course one could build a factory for the offshore wind market in the U.S.A. But you could also deliver and install by ship from Europe. You have to weigh up what makes more sense,” the 51-year-old said.
While the company is aware of possible requirements for local production and to set up factories in every federal U.S. state, Holt said that was “not worth it”, even though transporting giant turbines is difficult and costly.
Siemens Gamesa is currently producing offshore wind turbines in Europe.
Biden’s infrastructure plan, which still needs to become law, includes $100 billion for upgrading and modernizing the country’s strained power grids, for which Siemens Energy could provide transmission systems and other components.
Siemens Energy is already looking at Texas, whose energy grid was hit by a cold spell in February, affecting several local utilities, including Germany’s RWE, and hundreds of thousands of homes.
“In Texas we are sounding out how to better utilize systems in case of a crisis, such as the cold snap,” Holt said.
Many systems in Texas had been ill-prepared for the winter, causing vital components, including pumps, to freeze, problems Holts said Siemens Energy could address.
“You can start there,” he said.
($1 = 0.8413 euros)
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Tom Kaeckenhoff; editing by Kirsti Knolle and Barbara Lewis)
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