The Trump administration’s proposed budget for offshore energy includes potentially encouraging signs for renewables such as offshore wind.
Included in the budget is funding for “an aggressive leasing programme” for offshore renewable energy (that is, for offshore wind) that would also ensure its environmental review and permitting process for renewable energy projects is “co-ordinated, predictable and transparent.”
Responding to the proposals, National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) president Randall Luthi said the budget, which is now in the hands of Congress where recommendations will be enacted, modified or ignored, “includes some very positive signs for the offshore energy industry,” including increased or continued funding for offshore energy, including wind.
“Overall, the budget complements the President’s soon to be updated draft proposed national offshore energy plan to provide Americans with access to the energy resources our country needs and ensure taxpayers receive a fair return from their development,” Mr Luthi said. “In total, the budget is a statement of success for ‘all of the above’ American energy development and puts the President’s vision of energy dominance within our grasp.”
In recent months, NOIA and others have expressed concern about the pace of lease sales for offshore wind, following the hugely successful Massachusetts offshore lease awards. After the Massachusetts’ lease sale, Mr Luthi said more lease sales were required in order to promote investment in the US offshore wind industry and the service and supply chain it will depend on. NOIA called on BOEM to develop an offshore wind leasing plan that schedules at least four 500-MW lease sales annually, with a target of an additional 20 GW of offshore wind by 2034. The Business Network for Offshore Wind has also highlighted the need for more lease sales, a process it believes BOEM is addressing.
President Trump has proposed a US$193.4M fiscal year 2020 budget for BOEM to manage offshore energy and mineral resources, including funding for executing BOEM’s mission, which includes offshore oil and gas exploration and leasing, offshore renewable energy, marine minerals management, and science-based analyses.
BOEM acting director Walter Cruickshank said the administration was “calling for a boost to domestic energy production to stimulate the economy and strengthen America’s energy security.”