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Biden Administration jumpstarts US offshore wind energy projects

US offshore windThe Biden Administration recently held an Offshore Wind Roundtable, making several key announcements that will be a catalyst for US offshore wind energy development, strengthen the supply chain, and create well-paying jobs. The Roundtable included key Biden Administration agency leaders, offshore wind developers, labour leaders, and state government partners. This unprecedented meeting emphasises the importance of clean energy development to the Biden Administration and the central role it places on offshore wind energy and supply chain development in meeting its energy goals.

Led by White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and Cabinet Secretaries Granholm (Department of Energy), Haaland (Department of Interior), Raimondo (Department of Commerce), and Buttigieg (Department of Transportation), the White House roundtable outlined a series of actions, grants, and initiatives to achieve its stated goal to deploy 30GW of offshore wind by 2030, and a longer-term goal of 110GW by 2050. The White House estimated that, by 2030, the industry and local supply chain would create over 40,000 well-paying jobs and another 30,000 in local communities. “Today’s White House Offshore Wind Roundtable highlights the importance of offshore wind as a cornerstone industry in America’s clean energy future”, says Liz Burdock, President & CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, the only non-profit dedicated solely to growing offshore wind and its supply chain. “The Biden Administration brought the power of the federal government to kickstart a burgeoning industry into high-gear. Together with industry and union leaders, the Administration is making the investments, supporting research, and advancing the permitting milestones needed to make offshore wind a foundation of America’s climate change response.”

During the Roundtable, Secretary Deb Haaland announced that the Department of Interior (DOI) is identifying a new priority Wind Energy Area in the New York Bight, with a lease sale expected for late 2021/early 2022. DOI will immediately begin to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the New Jersey Ocean Wind project. Ms Haaland also announced a complete review of at least sixteen offshore wind project plans by 2025. To support the developing a domestic supply chain, the Department of Transportation identified USD 230 million for port infrastructure improvements and the Department of Energy (DOE) is facilitating USD 3 billion in loan support for the industry. The Department of Commerce also announced a new data sharing agreement between industry and NOAA and a new grant to help study any impact on ocean management.

Already within its first 100 days, the Administration has announced an executive order for the Department of Interior to double offshore wind by 2030. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released the final environmental impact statement on Vineyard Wind, moving the US offshore wind industry towards construction of the first utility scale offshore wind farm. Meanwhile, the DOE is working to expedite disbursement of funding for additional offshore wind research and is developing a new report focused on offshore wind to Congress, which includes identifying areas requiring sustained financial investments to expand deployment of a domestic offshore wind supply chain. The Network has developed a recommended list of legislative and funding priorities which if enacted would further advance the development of a strong US supply chain. “The level of agency cooperation is unprecedented and exactly what is required to achieve 30GW of installed offshore wind capacity and create jobs for Americans”, adds Ms Burdock. “The Network could not be more pleased with the level of commitment and focus the Administration is placing on offshore wind. Every small and medium-sized US business should take a hard look at diversifying into this sector – it’s not every day a company has the opportunity to get in at the ground level of the next great American industry.”