UK’s Octopus Energy Invests in US Offshore Wind Startup

Photo of an offshore wind turbine
Photo by Mmatsuura via CC0 1.0

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That should put some wind back in wind energy’s sails.

Octopus Energy, a UK-based renewable energy provider, said Wednesday that it’s investing in Ocergy, a San Francisco-based startup that produces floating offshore wind turbines. The Wall Street Journal reported the investment would be between $10 million and $30 million, which is small potatoes in the grand scheme of energy investments, but it’s a sign of green shoots in a sector that has otherwise endured a fairly devastating financing crisis.

Octopus’ Wind Garden 

Octopus isn’t that removed from startup status itself, having been founded in 2015. But despite its size and relative youth, Octopus has a decent toehold in the UK energy market, and last December it bought Shell’s UK and Germany household energy supply division, instantly acquiring an extra 1.3 million UK homes to power, some of which it generates itself. Octopus supplies entirely renewable energy, and it says it manages 260 green energy projects.

With its investment in Ocergy, Octopus is spreading itself beyond the UK and Europe, showing a certain amount of bullishness in a beaten-down sector:

  • The wind industry ran into its first real financing crisis in 2023 as logistics and turbine production expenses rose, sending financing costs way up and spooking investors. Multiple projects totaling more than $33 billion in the US and Europe were either put on ice or canceled entirely.
  • Despite the doldrums, floating wind farms offer some optimism for the sector, as technological innovations mean they can be built bigger and further out to sea than traditional offshore wind turbines, meaning they can generate more power.

Speed Bonnie Turbine: There aren’t many floating wind farms in the world yet, but more projects are picking up steam. On Monday, the Scottish government signed off on developing what is set to be the world’s biggest floating wind farm, which is planned to start generating energy in 2029. The only slightly un-green element about the project is that its main customers will be oil and gas platforms in the North Sea, The Scotsman reported, and any leftover energy will revert to the UK energy grid.