Biden administration announces actions aimed to galvanize offshore wind industry

A March 29 White House fact sheet noted that the administration is taking coordinated steps to support rapid offshore wind deployment and job creation, including advancing "ambitious wind energy projects to create good-paying, union jobs"

The White House on March 29 said that Biden administration leaders convened to announce actions, such as supporting critical research and development, that are designed to “catalyze offshore wind energy, strengthen the domestic supply chain, and create good-paying, union jobs.”

As noted in the fact sheet, President Joe Biden in his first week in office issued an executive order that committed to expand opportunities for the offshore wind industry, which will “spawn new supply chains that stretch into America’s heartland, as illustrated by the 10,000 tons of domestic steel that workers in Alabama and West Virginia are supplying to a Texas shipyard where Dominion Energy is building the nation’s first Jones Act compliant wind turbine installation vessel.”

The fact sheet noted that the administration is taking these coordinated steps to support rapid offshore wind deployment and job creation:

  • Advancing ambitious wind energy projects to create good-paying, union jobs — The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is announcing a new priority Wind Energy Area in the New York Bight, which is an area of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast. BOEM will next publish a proposed sale notice, followed by a formal public comment period and a lease sale in late 2021 or early 2022. Also, the Departments of Interior (DOI), Energy (DOE), and Commerce (DOC) are announcing a shared goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind in the United States by 2030, while protecting biodiversity and promoting ocean co-use. To position the domestic offshore wind industry to meet the 2030 target, BOEM plans to advance new lease sales and complete review of at least 16 Construction and Operations Plans (COPs) by 2025, representing more than 19 GW of new clean energy for the country. Achieving the 2030 target will unlock a pathway to 110 GW by 2050. BOEM is also announcing a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for Ocean Wind, which has proposed an offshore wind project with a total capacity of 1,100 MW
  • Investing in American infrastructure to strengthen the domestic supply chain and deploy offshore wind energy — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration on March 29 announced a notice of funding opportunity for port authorities and other applicants to apply for $230m for port and intermodal infrastructure-related projects through the Port Infrastructure Development Program. In addition, DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) released a fact sheet to facilitate access for the offshore wind industry for $3bn in funding through LPO’s Title XVII Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program, with that fact sheet signaling that LPO is ready to partner with offshore wind and offshore transmission developers, suppliers, and other financing partners to scale the U.S. offshore industry and support well-paying jobs
  • Supporting critical research and development and data-sharing — The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium (NOWRDC), created by DOE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), is announcing the award of $8m to 15 offshore wind research and development projects that were selected through a competitive process. The new projects will focus on offshore support structure innovation, supply chain development, electrical systems innovation, and mitigation of use conflicts that will help reduce barriers and costs for offshore wind deployment. Additionally, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is signing a memorandum of agreement with Ørsted to share physical and biological data in Ørsted-leased waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Furthermore, NOAA’s Northeast Sea Grant programs, in partnership with DOE, DOC, and NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, is releasing a request for research proposals to support more than $1m in grant funding to improve understanding of offshore renewable energy for the benefit of a diversity of stakeholders, including fishing and coastal communities

The fact sheet quoted administration leaders, including Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who said: “For generations, we’ve put off the transition to clean energy and now we’re facing a climate crisis. It’s a crisis that doesn’t discriminate – every community is facing more extreme weather and the costs associated with that. But not every community has the resources to rebuild, or even get up and relocate when a climate event happens in their backyards. The climate crisis disproportionately impacts communities of color and low-income families. As our country faces the interlocking challenges of a global pandemic, economic downturn, racial injustice, and the climate crisis – we have to transition to a brighter future for everyone.”

In a March 29 statement about the administration’s actions, Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), said, in part, “Offshore wind is a potentially massive emerging sector in the U.S. that can drive billions of dollars in economic investment, create tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs, and provide abundant pollution-free power.”

Similarly, Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association (ACP), in a separate March 29 statement said, in part, “Creating a stable policy platform for offshore wind development and facilitating the first wave of significant projects will provide certainty for the industry, strengthen the workforce, and revolutionize domestic supply chains up and down the coasts and across the country.”

Photo Credit: ID 10867183 © Robwilson39 | Dreamstime.com
About Corina Rivera-Linares 3272 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 16 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.