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Biden Administration Jumpstarts Offshore Wind Energy Projects to Create Jobs

Mayer Brown
31/03/2021

Authors:    J. Paul Forrester

On March 29, 2021, the Biden administration issued a fact sheet (Fact Sheet) announcing a “set of bold actions that will catalyze offshore wind energy, strengthen the domestic supply chain, and create good-paying, union jobs.” Included in the announcement is a target to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 to support 77,000 jobs, power 10 million homes and cut 78 million metric tons in carbon emissions.1 The actions were announced at a White House roundtable that included National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg as well as state officials, industry executives and labor leaders.

Following on President Biden’s January 27, 2021 Executive Order 14008,2 Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, the Fact Sheet noted the Biden administration taking “coordinated steps” in “close coordination with states and in partnership with the private sector, unions and other key stakeholders […] to catalyze the deployment of offshore wind at scale,” and the announced actions include:

  • Advancing ambitious wind energy projects to create good-paying, union jobs;
  • Investing in American infrastructure to strengthen the domestic supply chain and deploy offshore wind energy; and
  • Supporting critical research and development and data sharing.

According to a contemporaneous Department of Energy (DOE) press release, the 30 GW target will “spur $12 billion in capital investment annually, leading to the construction of up to 10 new manufacturing plants for offshore wind turbine components, new ships to install offshore wind turbines, and up to $500 million in port upgrades,” and achieving the 2030 goal would “support 77,000 jobs, including more than 44,000 workers employed in offshore wind and nearly 33,000 additional jobs in community supported by offshore wind activity,” and unlock a “pathway to deploy 110 GW or more of offshore wind by 2050, supporting 135,000 total jobs, including 77,000 in offshore wind and 58,000 induced in communities with offshore wind activity.”

Further specific actions include:

  • The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) 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 7,000 additional jobs in communities supported by this development. The study indicates the New York Bight lease area also has the potential to support, in the longer-term, up to 4,000 operations and maintenance jobs and approximately 2,000 community jobs. This new Wind Energy Area is adjacent to the greater metropolitan Tri-State area— the largest metropolitan population center in the United States, which is home to more than 20 million people and their energy needs. The next step is for BOEM to publish a Proposed Sale Notice, followed by a formal public comment period and a lease sale in late 2021 or early 2022.
  • BOEM announced a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Ocean Wind, putting it in line to become America’s third commercial-scale offshore wind project. Ocean Wind has proposed an offshore wind project with a total capacity of 1,100 MW— enough to power 500,000 homes across New Jersey. BOEM previously announced environmental reviews for Vineyard Wind (MA) and South Fork (RI) and anticipates initiating the environmental reviews for up to 10 additional projects later this year.
  • DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) released a fact sheet to facilitate access for up to $3 billion in funding through LPO’s Title 17 Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program. LPO is open for business and ready to partner with offshore wind and offshore transmission developers, suppliers and other financing partners to scale the US offshore industry and support good-paying jobs.
  • DOE also announced $8 million for 15 new offshore wind research and development (R&D) projects through the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium. The announced selections include projects to develop innovative support structures, support US-based supply chains needed for wind turbine production, advance electrical systems innovation and present solutions for impacts on wildlife and radar.

 


1 See related Department of Energy press release at: https://www.energy.gov/articles/energy-secretary-granholm-announces-ambitious-new-30gw-offshore-wind-deployment-target.

2 Described in our related February 8, 2021 Perspective “Biden Signs Far-Reaching Executive Order Setting Forth Climate Change Priorities.