Chevron Corp.’s venture capital arm and Moreld Ocean Wind agreed to invest in Ocergy Inc.’s development and commercialization of floating offshore wind turbines.
The investment by Chevron Technology Ventures is its first in offshore wind. The size of the investments weren’t disclosed. Floating turbines would be useful in ocean areas that are too deep for fixed turbines.
“To my knowledge, this is the first investment by a U.S. oil major in offshore wind,” said Anthony Logan, a senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd.
Floating wind turbines will become important as the U.S. electrical grid increasingly depends on offshore wind power, Logan said. “If you can get into those deeper waters, chances are you can build a system of offshore wind production that isn’t vulnerable to low wind or no-wind events,” said Logan.
The investment will also fund the development of an environmental monitoring buoy that will gather data and support biodiversity, Ocergy said in a news release Tuesday. The company has previously invested in onshore wind. Moreld is owned by HitecVision, a private equity investor that specializes in European renewable energy.
Chevron’s deal with Ocergy doesn’t mark a strategic pivot to renewable energy, but part of a $300 million-a-year plan to invest in early-stage technologies that may play a future role in the energy transition. The company is unwilling to erode returns by investing aggressively in unfamiliar business where it doesn’t have a competitive advantage and sees oil and gas as its core products for year to come.