Statoil fund bets on US wind power

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Statoil's new $200 million venture capital fund has announced that it has invested $3 million in U.S. company United Wind.

Statoil Energy Ventures is focused on investing in "attractive and ambitious growth companies in renewable energy." The investment in United Wind, which provides distributed wind energy leasing solutions, is its first.

"Statoil is committed to wind energy, as demonstrated by our strong position in offshore wind," Gareth Burns, managing director of Statoil Energy Ventures, said in a news release.

Burns added that the investment in United Wind "secures early entry in the company driving the growth of the distributed wind market in the United States."

The investment gives Statoil Energy Ventures a seat on United Wind's board of directors.

"Rural property owners throughout the U.S. have a massive opportunity to save on electricity costs by using distributed wind energy technology," founder and CEO of United Wind, Russell Tencer, said in a news release.

"This financing, coupled with our recent closing of additional project capital, enables United Wind to deliver on the promise of an affordable and sustainable energy future in these rural communities," Tencer added.

The potential of wind as an energy source is significant. The International Energy Agency (IEA) states that wind energy "is developing towards a mainstream, competitive and reliable power technology."

Spending on wind energy is increasing, too. In Europe alone, offshore wind investments doubled in 2015, according to data from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

Spending hit 13.3 billion euros ($14.45 billion), with the European Union's total offshore wind capacity now more than 11 gigawatts (GW) of power.