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Statoil's venture capital fund makes its first investment in wind energy sector

March 9
4:58 AM 2016

Statoil Energy Ventures, a venture capital fund managed by Statoil ASA, announced its first investment worth at about US$3 million in United Wind, a Brooklyn-based wind energy leasing company. The main focus of Statoil Energy fund is to invest in renewable energy firms with an aim of backing its growth policy in the energy sector.

In connection with this investment deal, Statoil energy gets a place on United Wind's board. The fund expects its net investment in United Wind to total up to US$200 million within a period of 4 to 7 years. The Wind is becoming the principle source of electric power in the US. United Wind can substitute coal-oriented electric power with wind-based electricity by widening its energy portfolio. Currently, US depends on coal for 40% of its total electricity production.

Gareth Burns, Statoil's vice president, said this investment marks Statoil's entry into the US renewable energy market. The company has invested in several offshore wind farms with an aim to find a prominent place in the wind energy market. He added this deal is line with principle investment policies of both Statoil and United Wind. Moreover, through this investment Statoil seeks to propel additional growth in United Wind.

According to Russell Tencer, chief executive officer of United Wind, land owners in rural areas across the US benefit from these renewable wind source as it reduces their electricity bill. He continued that this funding will help United Wind to better serve its rural customer base. United Wind allows customers to fix wind turbine and to generate wind energy on their own lands, thereby cutting their electricity expenses.

The International Energy Agency noted that investments in wind energy sector have been growing in recent period owing mainly to its inexhaustible nature. The data collected by the European Wind Energy association showed that offshore spending on renewable wind energy hit $14.45 billion in Europe last year. Currently, the European Union produces over 11 gigawatts of power from offshore wind energy sources, according to CNBC.

This growth in the US wind energy sector has benefited companies like General Electric, the largest manufacturer of wind turbines in the US. In addition, the postponement of Production Tax Credit has boosted the US onshore renewable energy sector. Seeking Alpha quoted a report from GlobalData, which expects offshore wind energy sources to become a significant power generator within 2020. The global offshore wind market has gained momentum over the recent period with additional investments pumping into the sector.

The United States is the leading producer of wind energy in the world. On an annual basis, the country produced 8.6 GW of power during 2015. The growing investments on wind energy market reflect the nation's commitment in the sector.

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