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USA - 'It makes us sharpen our pencils': oil giants good for US offshore wind, says Avangrid chief

Majority Iberdrola-owned utility says competition from likes of BP and Shell 'clarifies industry is for real'

Iberdrola-controlled Avangrid views competition from oil supermajors such as BP and Shell as good for the emerging US offshore wind market, and would not be surprised if they approach it to partner on future projects, said CEO Dennis Arriola.

He was asked on a conference call about analysts’ increasing concerns that the plunge into the sector by global oil giants looking to clean and diversify their energy portfolios could drive financial returns lower for developers such as Avangrid that have a more established presence in the US.

“I think there’s no doubt that with the entrance of some of the larger energy companies that have not traditionally been involved in the clean energy space, if anything, just clarifies that the offshore wind industry is for real and is a place where companies can put a lot of capital to work,” he said.

“So, competition is good; it’s good for consumers and good for us. It makes us sharpen our pencils,” Arriola said, adding: “So, we don’t see that really as a negative as long as we continue to focus on making sure that we maintain our financial discipline.”

Avangrid owns several large electric utilities in New England and New York, is a leading transmission developer and its Renewables unit is the number three US onshore wind and solar power capacity owner behind NextEra Energy Resources and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

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