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Biden administration launches major US offshore wind push

The White House today announced an ambitious plan to expand offshore wind farms along the US East Coast.

The White House website reports:

National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met today with state officials, industry executives, and labor leaders to announce new leasing, funding, and goals that employ President Biden’s whole-of-government approach, position America to lead a clean energy revolution, and create thousands of jobs across the country with the choice to join a union.

The plan would generate 30 gigawatts of clean energy by 2030. This is a big deal because the US currently only has one offshore wind farm online – Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island. Vineyard Wind 1, off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, is expected to achieve a formal authorization in April, reach financial close in the second half of 2021, and go live in late 2023. And this will provide a big boost to those already being planned, as well as new projects.

The offshore wind farm plan is outlined on the website. It includes:

  1. Advance ambitious wind energy projects to create good-paying, union jobs
  2. Investing in American infrastructure to strengthen the domestic supply chain and deploy offshore wind energy
  3. Supporting critical research and development and data-sharing.

The announcement then lists details for each of those three steps of how the plan will be implemented. The Washington Post summarized the details:

[S]etting concrete deadlines for reviewing and approving permit applications; establishing a new wind energy area in the waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast; investing $230 million upgrade [to] US ports; and providing $3 billion in potential loans for the offshore wind industry through the Energy Department [DOE].

The program also instructs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] to share physical and biological data with Ørsted, a Danish offshore wind development firm, about the US waters where it holds leases. NOAA will grant $1 million to help study the impact of offshore wind operations on fishing operators as well as coastal communities.

The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, a joint project of DOE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, will also give $8 million in research grants to 15 offshore wind research and development projects.

This form of renewable energy provides a great opportunity for jobs because they need regular operations and maintenance. The Biden administration says “more than 44,000 workers [will be] employed in offshore wind by 2030 and nearly 33,000 additional jobs in communities supported by offshore wind activity.”

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said:

This… goal is proof of our commitment to using American ingenuity and might to invest in our nation, advance our own energy security, and combat the climate crisis. DOE is going to marshal every resource we have to get as many American companies, using as many sheets of American steel, employing as many American workers as possible in offshore wind energy — driving economic growth from coast to coast.

Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook released a statement once the news was released:

Now the private sector and federal government will be partners in the urgent transition from fossil fuels and reach the president’s target of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.