Bloomberg Green – Biden Envisions Thousands of Wind Turbines Spinning at Sea

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Bloomberg Green – The Biden administration is outlining ambitions to dramatically boost offshore wind power in the U.S. by 2030, pushing to drive construction of projects at sea capable of generating enough electricity for more than 10 million American homes.

The Opportunity

  • Top administration officials unveiled the new goal in a Monday meeting with state officials, executives and labor leaders, as part of President Joe Biden’s push to counter climate change, promote renewable energy and strip the electric grid of greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. 
  • The wind energy initiative dovetails with the administration’s work on a new U.S. carbon-cutting pledge aligned with efforts to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.
  • “President Biden believes we have an enormous opportunity in front of us,” National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy said in a Monday statement. “Nowhere is the scale of that opportunity clearer than for offshore wind.”
  • The target of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power generation capacity in nine years would require developers to install thousands of turbines capable of generating hundreds of times more power than the two small existing installations in state and federal waters today.

The Prize

  • Potentially luring more than $12 billion in annual capital investment and supporting 44,000 workers tasked with installing turbines along U.S. coasts. The effort jump-start offshore wind development + domestic manufacturing to supply it.
  • “We’re talking about massive turbines that are actually manufactured in the United States.”
  • “We’re talking about steel and cement that’s made right here.”
  • “We’re talking about these special ships that need to install these huge structures that are U.S. flagged and built in U.S. ports.”

The Steps

  • “Although offshore wind is a much more mature enterprise in Europe than the U.S., I anticipate we will see much more development domestically.”
  • The administration is announcing an array of moves it says will support the burgeoning industry in the U.S., including $230 million in funding for port infrastructure
    • + $3 billion in loan guarantees to project developers
    • + awarding some $8 million to 15 research and development projects.
  • The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management also is taking the next steps toward selling wind development rights in the New York Bight, a shallow stretch of the Atlantic between Long Island and New Jersey. 
    • The New York Bight could fit enough windmills to power all of New York City.
  • + the bureau is also announcing plans to begin environmental analysis of Orsted A/S’ Ocean Wind project planned in waters near New Jersey. The wind farm would have a capacity of 1.1 gigawatts that could power 500,000 New Jersey homes.
  • + Plans for 14 offshore wind farms are already pending before the bureau
  • + it is seeking to complete review of at least 16 proposals representing more than 19 gigawatts of generating capacity by 2025. 
  • + The agency is on track to announce its final decision on the $2.8 billion Vineyard Wind LLC project near Massachusetts in April.
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