President Joe Biden has boosted the already booming US offshore wind industry by pledging to double offshore wind generation by 2030
In an executive order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, signed on 27 January 2021, the President directed the Secretary of the Interior to ‘review siting and permitting processes on public lands and in offshore waters to identify steps that can be taken, consistent with applicable law, to increase renewable energy production… with the goal of doubling offshore wind by 2030.’
Responding, the Business Network for Offshore Wind said the inclusion of offshore wind in the executive order “acknowledges the important role the industry will play in the administration’s renewable energy goals, which will drive investment, revitalise ports, and provide new, well-paying jobs for workers, particularly those in disadvantaged communities often affected by pollution.”
Responding to questions from OWJ, the Network said, “Although the executive order is somewhat vague, the Interior’s responsibility is not, so we are making the assumption this is about leasing.”
Power Advisory president John Dalton told OWJ that although the executive order did not provide a lot of detail about what the President intends, he also anticipates that the next step would be for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, part of the Department of Interior, to move forward with announcements about new lease auctions, such as the New York Bight or potentially, North Carolina.
Working individually, states in the US have together committed to procure 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2035. However, the federal government, in particular the Department of the Interior is responsible for offshore wind leasing, not procurement of offshore wind generation capacity and concern has repeatedly been expressed by industry about the dearth of leases sales that are planned.
The Network told OWJ, “There are currently 1.7M acres of federal waters leased, spread across 16 lease areas. Using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s power density estimate for offshore wind, the total potential capacity for all currently leased areas is approximately 21 GW.
“By conducting additional lease auctions, Interior could double the area of federal waters leased for offshore wind development to 3.4M acres. Using the NREL power density estimate, this would increase the total potential capacity of leased areas to approximately 41 GW.”
Business Network for Offshore Wind president and chief executive Liz Burdock said, “President Biden’s action confirms the critical role that offshore wind energy will play in creating a clean US energy grid and achieving White House commitments to combat climate change.
“His call to double offshore wind production in federal waters sends a clear signal of support to our industry, which will generate billions in new investments.
“Over the next few years, the offshore wind industry will dramatically scale up development of the US supply chain, growing tens of thousands of new jobs in the process.
“Offshore wind has been on the precipice of significant growth thanks to states’ bold leadership and President Biden’s executive order further pushes the industry to new heights with a new sense of urgency.”
Also responding to the announcement, Ørsted offshore North America chief executive David Hardy said, “We are excited to be a part of building this new American industry. I applaud the President for his bold and ambitious goals to combat climate change and position the US to be a leader in renewable energy production such as offshore wind.”
Mainstream Renewable Power VP US offshore wind Paula Major said it was “a great day for offshore wind and all those that care for the environment.”
American Council on Renewable Energy president and chief executive Gregory Wetstone said, “Today’s executive actions provide welcome detail on the ‘whole-of-government’ approach the Biden administration is taking to tackle the climate crisis.
“The federal government has a critical role to play in meeting the administration’s goal of decarbonising the power sector by 2035. The Department of Interior has many tools it can deploy to double offshore wind generation by 2030, and the President’s clarion call for greater transmission investment is an essential component of providing reliable and affordable renewable energy to every American. With smart policies in place, the renewable sector can build America’s clean energy future and help power our nation’s economic recovery.”
Also responding to the executive order, and to other elements of it, the American Clean Power Association said, “This is the whole-of-government approach to the climate crisis that is needed. President Biden’s actions today – creating a climate task force to set in motion a government-wide action plan for reducing emissions, directing all federal agencies to consider climate in their decision making, driving federal procurement to renewable energy, targeting federal lands and water for clean energy development, and accelerating the permitting of clean energy and transmission projects – will help deliver on his twin pledges to simultaneously rebuild the US economy and address the threat of climate change.
“American Clean Power applauds the Biden-Harris administration for launching this comprehensive approach to both efforts and we are committed to working closely with the administration as we invest in American communities, create American jobs, and rapidly reduce our country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“Over the next decade, our nation’s transition to majority renewable energy will be a cornerstone of building back better. Justice for disadvantaged communities and welcoming legacy energy workers into the clean power workforce are vital aspects of the success of the clean energy transition. Our industry is pleased to see both ideals at the centre of this administration’s energy and economic policy as we tackle these crucial issues.”
American Clean Power senior director of policy and regulatory affairs for offshore wind Laura Morton said, “We are pleased that the President’s team has identified offshore wind as an important part of the climate and economic plan.
“States are already targeting nearly 30 GW offshore wind by 2035 and the Biden campaign platform called for thousands of offshore turbines.
“We are confident the Interior Department will set out specific targets for offshore wind as part of their efforts to boost the economy and accelerate deployment of clean energy technologies in an environmentally sustainable manner.
“This is an exciting moment for the industry, and we are ready to work closely with this administration to dramatically increase offshore wind production.”
New York Offshore Wind Alliance (NYOWA) executive director Joe Martens said, “NYOWA is delighted that President Biden recognises the important role offshore wind will play in addressing climate change and is eager to hear more details about his plans to accelerate its development.”