Presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren has placed offshore wind at the heart of plans she announced this week for a ‘Blue New Deal’
“As we rapidly transition our economy to 100% clean energy, we must prioritise offshore wind and wave energy,” the Senator said.
“Offshore wind is more consistent than onshore wind and could provide four times the present capacity of our grid. By 2030, offshore wind energy development from Maryland to Maine could support more than 36,000 full time jobs.”
Senator Warren claimed the Trump administration and government red tape "have bogged down existing projects, making development cumbersome and untenable."
“Despite a decade of effort, the Block Island offshore windfarm off the coast of Rhode Island remains the only offshore wind project operating in the US,” she said. “This will change in a Warren administration.
“As president, I will work to streamline and fast-track permitting for offshore renewable energy, including making sure projects are sited with care based on environmental impact assessments.”
The Senator said she would also make sure communities hosting developments receive a share of the benefits. She said ‘community benefit agreements’ could help address power imbalances between project developers and low-income communities by setting labour, environmental and transparency standards before work begins.
“I’ll make additional federal subsidies or tax benefits for large offshore renewable energy projects contingent on strong community benefit agreements,” Senator Warren stated, “which should include requirements for prevailing wages and collective bargaining rights. And I’ll insist on a clawback provision if a company does not hold up its end of the deal.
“If developers work with communities to ensure that everyone benefits from clean energy development, we will be able to reduce our emissions faster. Due to the urgency and complexity of building offshore renewable energy projects, my administration will seek to execute project labour agreements to govern the construction and maintenance of these projects so as to ensure a constant supply of qualified, trained workers – and create good, union jobs in the process.”
Senator Warren said her ‘Green Manufacturing Plan’ calls for a US$2Tn investment to incentivise American-made clean energy, including offshore wind.
“My administration will work to ensure all offshore wind infrastructure is made with a completely domestic supply chain, including American iron, steel and cement and that American crews on American vessels will be used to ferry the goods and workers to build and maintain these farms, creating more new American jobs,” she said.
“And I will make sure that fishing and conservation groups, as well as coastal communities, have a seat at the table in developing any new project to ensure that an expanded offshore wind industry can successfully coexist with vibrant fishing industries and healthy ocean and coastal habitats. And I won’t allow visual and aesthetic impacts to provide a basis for denying federal offshore wind energy permits. The climate crisis is too urgent to let the ultra-wealthy complain about wind turbines getting in the way of their ocean views.”