U.S. announces plans to ramp up offshore wind capacity in a big way

The Block Island Wind Farm, photographed in 2016, is situated in waters off the east coast of the United States.

DON EMMERT | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. needs to increase its offshore wind capacity to 30 gigawatts by 2030, a transfer the Biden administration hopes will generate hundreds of jobs and unlock billions of {dollars} in funding in coming years.

The goal, introduced by the Departments of Energy, Interior and Commerce on Monday, represents a vital ramp-up of America’s fledgling offshore wind trade, which trails different elements of the world.

The United States’ first offshore wind facility, the 30 megawatt Block Island Wind Farm, started industrial operations in late 2016. By distinction, the world’s first offshore wind farm, in waters off Denmark, was opened in 1991. Today, figures from trade physique WindEurope put offshore wind capacity in Europe at round 25 GW. This compares to simply 42 MW of capacity in the U.S.

The White House mentioned assembly its new purpose for offshore wind would set off in extra of $12 billion a yr in capital funding. It mentioned it could lead to greater than 44,000 jobs in the offshore wind sector by 2030, and help 33,000 different roles related to the trade.

According to the Department of Energy, deploying 30 GW of offshore wind by the tip of the last decade would produce sufficient electrical energy to energy greater than 10 million houses in the U.S.

Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, mentioned his group was “thrilled to see the White House stepping up with concrete measures to help unleash America’s nascent offshore wind industry.”

“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,” Wetstone mentioned in a assertion.

Kit Kennedy, senior director in the Climate and Clean Energy program on the Natural Resources Defense Council, described offshore wind as being “uniquely positioned to address our country’s greatest challenges — the intersecting environmental, public health and economic crises that exacerbate racial and social injustices and threaten the planet.”

“We look forward to working with the Biden administration to ensure that in addition to creating a bevy of jobs from manufacturing to port facilities, offshore wind power development also protects the climate and coastal and marine ecosystems, and advances social equity and environmental justice,” Kennedy added.

Monday additionally noticed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announce plans for an environmental overview of the Ocean Wind offshore wind farm deliberate for waters off New Jersey.

According to Danish vitality agency Orsted, which is engaged on the 1.1 GW undertaking with help from New Jersey’s Public Service Enterprise Group, the ability shall be ready to energy over 500,000 houses if it goes forward.

The bureau’s resolution, in accordance to the White House, places Ocean Wind “in line to become America’s third commercial scale offshore wind project.” Looking forward, environmental evaluations for as many as 10 different initiatives might be initiated this yr, the White House mentioned. 

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