US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland yesterday unveiled the path forward for future offshore wind leases. The Biden-Harris administration’s goal is to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold up to seven new offshore lease sales for federal waters by 2025. On the West Coast, that’s off California and Oregon. On the East Coast, it’s off Maine, New York, the mid-Atlantic, and the Carolinas. And in the South, that’s in the Gulf of Mexico.
Once the offshore areas are identified, they will be subject to federal, state, and local reviews.
Dan Reicher, who served as assistant secretary at the Department of Energy in the Clinton administration and now advises offshore wind developer Magellan Wind, told the New York Times:
This is very big, big deal. This is a signal like we’ve never had before in the United States about where we can go with offshore wind.
Anticipating the usual pushback from the commercial fishing industry, people who own land or property on coasts that complain about wind turbines being unsightly, and fossil fuel companies exploring and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, BOEM director Amanda Lefton said:
We are working to facilitate a pipeline of projects that will establish confidence for the offshore wind industry.
At the same time, we want to reduce potential conflicts as much as we can while meeting the administration’s goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. This means we will engage early and often with all stakeholders prior to identifying any new Wind Energy Areas.
Anthony Allard, head of North America at Hitachi Energy (formerly Hitachi ABB Power Grids), offered his thoughts to Electrek by email about what’s needed to make Biden’s goal of 30 GW by 2030 achievable:
Investing in renewable energy and efforts to make our electric grids more flexible and resilient is imperative to deliver on the promise of a carbon-neutral future, slow the pace of climate change, and mitigate extreme weather events. To accomplish this goal will require the fundamentals in place: natural resources, decreasing costs, location, public and cooperative support, and government support.
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