The U.S. announces plans to ramp up offshore wind capacity in a big way

The Block Island wind farm, photographed in 2016, is located in waters off the east coast of the USA.

DON EMMERT | AFP | Getty Images

The US wants to expand its offshore wind capacity to 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. The Biden government hopes to create thousands of jobs and billions in investments in the coming years.

The target, announced Monday by the Departments of Energy, Home Affairs and Trade, represents a significant surge in America’s fledgling offshore wind industry, which is currently lagging behind other parts of the world.

The first offshore wind turbine in the USA, the Block Island wind farm with 30 megawatts (MW), was not commissioned until the end of 2016. In contrast, the world’s first offshore wind farm was opened in waters off the coast of Denmark in 1991. According to the industry association WindEurope, offshore wind capacity in Europe is around 25 GW today. This corresponds to an output of only 42 MW in the USA

The White House said that meeting its new offshore wind target would trigger more than $ 12 billion a year in capital investments and power millions of homes. It said it would create more than 44,000 jobs in the offshore wind sector by 2030 and support an additional 33,000 industry-related roles.

In response, Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, said his organization was “thrilled that the White House has taken concrete steps to kickstart America’s burgeoning offshore wind industry.”

“Offshore wind is a potentially massive emerging sector in the US that can generate billions of dollars in economic investment, create tens of thousands of high-paying American jobs, and provide abundant green electricity,” Wetstone said in a statement.

Elsewhere, Kit Kennedy, senior director of the Climate and Clean Energy Program at the Defense Council for Natural Resources, described offshore wind as “uniquely positioned to address our country’s greatest challenges – the overlapping environmental, health and economic crises that are.” exacerbate race and society. ” Injustices and threaten the planet. ”

“We look forward to working with the von Biden government to ensure that the development of offshore wind energy creates not only a wide variety of jobs from manufacturing to port facilities, but also the climate and ecosystems on the coast and in the ocean protects and promotes social and environmental justice. ” Kennedy added.

On Monday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced plans for an environmental review of the Ocean Wind offshore wind farm, which is slated for waters off New Jersey.

According to the Danish energy company Orsted, which is working on the 1.1 GW project with the support of the Public Service Enterprise Group in New Jersey, the system can supply more than 500,000 households with electricity in the future.

The BOEM’s decision, according to the White House, puts Ocean Wind “in line to become America’s third commercial-scale offshore wind project.” Looking ahead, environmental assessments could be initiated for up to 10 other projects this year, the White House said.

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