Biden Administration Promotes Offshore Wind


At the end of March, President Joe Biden announced that the White House and leaders of the Administration had developed a set of actions aimed at catalyzing offshore wind energy. The reported actions also plan to strengthen the domestic supply chain and create good-paying, union jobs.

To provide a layout of the plan to state officials, industry executives and labor leaders met with National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on the plan’s new leasing, funding and goals that position America to lead a clean energy revolution.

Offshore Wind Energy Targets

Outlined in the jumpstart plan, the U.S. Department of Interior, Department of Energy and Department of Commerce have all announced a shared goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind in America by 2030, while protecting biodiversity and promoting ocean co-use. The plan involves new federal ocean tract leasing later this year or by early 2022.

According to the President’s Fact Sheet, if this target is met it will “trigger more than $12 billion per year in capital investment in projects on both U.S. coasts, create tens of thousands of good-paying, union jobs, with more than 44,000 workers employed in offshore wind by 2030 and nearly 33,000 additional jobs in communities supported by offshore wind activity.”

The creation of these offshore wind farms would also generate enough power for more than 10 million homes for a year and reduce CO2 emissions by 78 million metric tons.

“This offshore wind goal is proof of our commitment to using American ingenuity and might to invest in our nation, advance our own energy security, and combat the climate crisis,” said Granholm. “DOE is going to marshal every resource we have to get as many American companies, using as many sheets of American steel, employing as many American workers as possible in offshore wind energy—driving economic growth from coast to coast.”

In tackling the transition to clean energy and creating these good-paying, union jobs, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has announced a new priority Wind Energy Area in the New York Bight—an area of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast—which a recent study from Wood Mackenzie shows can support up to 25,000 development and construction jobs from 2022 to 2030, as well as an additional 7,000 jobs in communities supported by this development.

The area measures nearly 800,000 acres of potential “wind energy areas.”

Not only would the domestic offshore wind industry to meet the 2030 target by utilizing this area—New York has a target of 9,000 MW of offshore wind and New Jersey has set a 7,500-MW goal, both by 2035—there would be massive supply chain benefits as well.

According to The White House, in meeting this 2030 target, the supply chain would benefit through new port upgrade investments totaling more than $500 million; one to two new U.S. factories for each major windfarm component including wind turbine nacelles, blades, towers, foundations, and subsea cables; additional cumulative demand of more than 7 million tons of steel—equivalent to four years of output for a typical U.S. steel mill; and the construction of four to six specialized turbine installation vessels in U.S. shipyards, each representing an investment between $250 and $500 million.

To help cover these changes, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation has reported it will be making available $230 million for port and intermodal infrastructure related projects such as storage areas, laydown areas and docking of wind energy vessels to load and move items to offshore wind farms. The DOE is also making $3 billion available in debt capital, through loan programs, to support offshore wind projects, including transmission systems to link to land-based power grids.

If carried out successfully, the target could unlock a pathway to 110 GW by 2050, generating 77,000 offshore wind jobs and more than 57,000 additional jobs in communities supported by offshore wind activity.

To prepare for all these endeavors, the BOEM has announced a Notice of Intent 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—enough to power 500,000 homes across New Jersey. BOEM anticipates that it will be initiating environmental reviews for up to ten additional projects later this year.

Interior Secretary Haaland added that the assessments of construction and operations plans of at least 16 projects are slated to begin by 2025.

A final major part of the plan involves supporting critical research and development and data-sharing, in which the DOE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority created The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium in 2018. This year, the NOWRDC plans to award $8 million 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.

“Tackling the climate crisis is vital to our nation’s future,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg. “The Biden-Harris Administration is taking actions that show how creating jobs and addressing climate change can and must go hand in hand. Today’s announcement makes a critical investment in our nation’s ports, which in turn builds up the resilience and sustainability of America’s economy.”

Efforts to Tackle the Climate Crisis

After the November election, the Biden-Harris transition team released its plan regarding climate change, highlighting the incoming administration’s early priorities.

In tying in with some previously mentioned efforts to fight climate change, the Biden-Harris transition team looked at one form of technology it believes will be welcomed by a normally divided Congress: carbon capture and storage.

Earlier forms of the plan also mentioned various reforestation, agricultural practices, and also plans to look at battery storage, renewable hydrogen, advanced nuclear and building materials.

Overall, Biden planned to dedicate $1.7 trillion to overhaul energy, transportation, agriculture, and other sectors. According to the transition document, the team will go beyond just recommitting the nation to the Paris Agreement on climate change, and aims to build a more resilient, sustainable economy through the creation of union jobs within these new investments.

Last month, in wake of the President signing of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, members of Congress shifted focus to create a job and infrastructure package.

While continuing to be developed at the time , House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted that broadband coverage would be among the priorities outlined in the upcoming infrastructure package, noting that while the package will be “fiscally sound” members of Congress can also expect what she’s called, a “big, bold and transformational” infrastructure plan.

Although Republicans are not in favor of President Biden’s focus on the environment and or the possibility of financing any program with debt, given all the money the government has already borrowed to alleviate economic effects from COVID-19, Pelosi hopes that Congress will reach a bipartisanship.

In addition to addressing climate change, ending the digital divide and creating unionized jobs as the nation repairs its infrastructure, as Biden has outlined in previous accelerated investments and plans, the new package could also include policy changes, specifically on green energy and immigration.

Earlier this month, Biden released the “American Jobs Plan,” a $2 trillion spending proposal that aims to invest in the nation by creating millions of good jobs, rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, and positioning the United States to out-compete China.

The proposal includes traditional infrastructure projects like roads and bridges, but also focuses on tackling climate change, boosting human services and fighting racial injustice.

Priced at $2.25 trillion and working in tangent with Biden’s coronavirus relief package, the initiative intends to give the federal government a bigger role in the U.S. economy, accounting for 20% or more of annual output. As for how the plan will be paid for, a senior administration official reported that the plan will increase the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% and change the tax code to close loopholes that allow companies to move profits overseas.

Although, the plan does not include expected increases in the top marginal tax rate or to the capital gains tax and instead, would spread the cost for projects over an eight-year period and aims to pay for it all over 15 years.

Looking at specific investments, the plan allots $621 billion to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure; $689 billion for buildings and utilities; and $500 billion for worker training, research and development and domestic manufacturing initiatives. To further break things down on the transportation front, the proposal includes:

  • $174 billion for electric vehicle incentives;
  • $115 billion for roads and bridges;
  • $85 billion for public transit;
  • $80 billion for passenger and freight rail;
  • $50 billion in disaster resilience of infrastructure;
  • $25 billion for airports;
  • $20 billion to improve road safety;
  • $20 billion to mitigate infrastructure impact on underserved communities; and
  • $17 billion for waterways and ports.

Other notable initiatives for buildings and utilities include:

  • $100 billion for electric grid and clean energy;
  • $66 billion for water systems; and
  • $45 billion to eliminate lead pipes.

According to an article published by The Hill, Biden hopes the package is passed by Congress by this summer. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted that the longer timeline could allow for more negotiations with congressional Republicans and Democrats as it doesn’t require the same type of urgency as the prior relief plan.


Tagged categories: Carbon dioxide; Carbon footprint; Energy efficiency; Government; Green Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Offshore; Power; Power; President Biden; Program/Project Management; U.S. Department of Energy; Wind Farm; Wind Towers

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