Interior Department joins government-wide effort to advance offshore wind

The federal target is to generate 30 gigawatts in U.S. waters by 2030

(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland joined the secretaries of Energy, Commerce and Transportation in a White House forum Monday to meet with representatives from states, the offshore wind industry and members of the labor community to identify solutions to the greatest challenges facing the development of this new industry. Interior is working with agencies across the federal government to advance the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of increasing renewable energy development on federal lands and waters.

The event included a commitment by Interior, Energy and Commerce to establish a target to deploy 30 gigawatts (30,000 megawatts) of offshore wind by 2030, creating nearly 80,000 jobs.

“For generations, we’ve put off the transition to clean energy and now we’re facing a climate crisis. It’s a crisis that doesn’t discriminate – every community is facing more extreme weather and the costs associated with that. But not every community has the resources to rebuild, or even get up and relocate when a climate event happens in their backyards. The climate crisis disproportionately impacts communities of color and low-income families. As our country faces the interlocking challenges of a global pandemic, economic downturn, racial injustice, and the climate crisis – we must transition to a brighter future for everyone,” said Haaland.

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ABS/Deepwater Wind photo

At the event, Interior announced the final Wind Energy Areas (WEA) in the New York Bight – an area of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast. The goal of the department’s area identification process is to identify the offshore locations that appear most suitable for wind energy development, taking into consideration coexistence with ocean users. As part of this process, Interior removed areas of highest conflict from consideration. The department received input from the public and other governmental agencies through the call for information and task force meetings. The WEAs are adjacent to the metropolitan tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which is home to more than 20 million people, representing the largest metropolitan population center in the United States and a significant energy demand. For more information on this announcement, click here.

Additionally, the department is initiating the environmental review of the third commercial-scale offshore wind project by announcing a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for Ocean Wind LLC’s proposed project off New Jersey. Ocean Wind has proposed an offshore wind project with a total capacity of 1,100 MW, enough energy to power 500,000 homes across New Jersey. The department previously announced environmental reviews for Vineyard Wind (Mass.) and South Fork (R.I.) and anticipates initiating the environmental reviews for up to 10 additional projects later this year.

“The offshore wind industry has the potential to create tens of thousands of family supporting jobs across the nation by 2030, while combating the negative effects of climate change. These new jobs will cover a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, installation, operations and maintenance and support services,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Amanda Lefton. “We are committed to active engagement with all stakeholders and partners to ensure the responsible development of renewable energy resources in federal waters.”

At the forum, leaders discussed key opportunities and challenges to ensuring domestic economic and employment benefits of aggressively expanding offshore wind. The event helped gather input from diverse stakeholders who will contribute to a comprehensive strategy to establish domestic offshore wind manufacturing capabilities, a robust supply chain, and a domestic service industry to support offshore wind installation and maintenance on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.

– U.S. Department of the Interior

Categories: Maritime News, Offshore Wind