The Biden administration has set a U.S. target of 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and aims to complete environmental reviews of at least 16 offshore wind projects by 2025 in a major set of policies and pledges announced by the White House March 29.
The offshore wind target is more ambitious than the target of 30 GW by 2035 set by the U.S. wind industry. President Joe Biden wants to create a new clean-energy economy, and the new measures will accelerate the transition to large-scale offshore wind projects and help to create thousands of jobs on the East and West coasts.
U.S. offshore wind capacity lags far behind Europe, but project development is booming. Congress recently agreed to a new 30-percent investment tax credit (ITC) for offshore wind farms, providing greater certainty for investors. Earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) completed its final environmental impact statement (EIS) for Vineyard Wind, the U.S.’s first large-scale offshore wind project.
U.S. offshore developers have warned of a growing queue for environmental approvals at BOEM, a division of the Department of Interior (DOI). The Biden administration has already issued an executive order for faster approvals, and BOEM now plans to complete the reviews of “at least 16 construction and operations plans (COPs) by 2025, representing more than 19 GW,” the White House said.
BOEM will also “advance new lease sales” and has created a new offshore wind development area in the New York-New Jersey Bight, a shallow water area between Long Island and New Jersey, it said. Following a public consultation, BOEM will tender for leases in the Bight in “late 2021 or early 2022,” it said.
Offshore wind developers, component suppliers, and transmission builders will also gain access to $3 billion of loan guarantees to help scale up capacity, after the Department of Energy (DOE) reopened its Loan Programs Office in March, the administration said. Power industry figures have urged East Coast U.S. states to set plans for onshore and offshore grid networks to accommodate waves of offshore wind build. The Biden administration will also offer $230 million of federal funding to port authorities to support offshore wind infrastructure.
By 2030, the U.S. offshore wind industry could employ 44,000 workers directly and support 33,000 additional jobs, the White House said.