The nascent U.S. offshore wind industry received a major boost on March 29 as the Biden administration launched a series of coordinated actions intended to help the country install 30,000 MW of offshore wind generating capacity by 2030.
That would unleash more than $12 billion in annual capital investments into projects on both East and West coasts while creating tens of thousands of jobs and generating enough carbon-free power to meet the needs of more than 10 million American homes per year, according to the White House, which announced the multifront effort at a meeting with wind industry and labor officials.
“This 30-GW offshore wind goal demonstrates, in my view, our commitment to what I call clean energy patriotism,” U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said at the event. “It’s an effort to invest, as a nation, in the means for our own energy security, in our people, in our supply chains, in our capacity.”
Considering America’s enormous untapped offshore wind potential, the effort could emerge as a critical component of President Joe Biden’s ambitious bid to completely decarbonize the U.S. power mix by 2035.
To help jump-start projects, the DOE announced that it is opening $3 billion in debt funding opportunities for offshore wind farm and transmission developers, as well as other project participants through its Loan Programs Office. To date, the office has provided $1.6 billion to support roughly 1,000 MW of onshore wind power.
To support the overall 30-GW target, the U.S. Interior Department tasked its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to accelerate new lease sales, including completion of at least 16 construction and operations plans by 2025, representing more than 19 GW of offshore wind capacity. The agency also announced a new wind development area in the New York Bight, a shallow-water area between Long Island and the New Jersey coast, with an intended lease sale in late 2021 or early 2022.