Biden Administration Sets 30-GW-by-2030 Goal
The Biden administration announced Monday it will open a new area between Long Island and New Jersey to offshore wind development and pledged to speed reviews of projects to meet a goal of 30 GW by 2030.
The new area and the 2030 target were among a flurry of announcements at an Offshore Wind Roundtable featuring Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy, and state officials from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, California and New England.
The new priority wind energy area is in the New York Bight, an area of shallow waters between Long Island and New Jersey. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will issue a proposed sale notice for the area, which will be followed by a formal public comment period and an auction late this year or early 2022.
The administration’s 30-GW goal is slightly above the total of East Coast state OSW targets, although the states’ timelines extend beyond 2030. In February, BloombergNEF predicted that the U.S. will become the third largest OSW market in the world by 2030, with a cumulative 23 GW. The administration said the U.S. could have 110 GW by 2050.
BOEM pledged to complete its review of at least 16 construction and operations plans (COPs) totaling 19 GW by 2025 and announced its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for Ocean Wind, Ørsted’s 1,100-MW project 15 miles off Atlantic City, N.J. (See Developer to Use Union Labor for NJ OSW Project.)
The agency completed its final EIS for the 800-MW Vineyard Wind project off Massachusetts earlier this month. The 800-MW project, a joint venture of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables, is on track to become the first large-scale OSW farm in the U.S., following the 30-MW Block Island Wind project. (See BOEM Releases Final Vineyard Wind Impact Statement.)
It also held public hearings in February following the release of its draft EIS for the South Fork project off Long Island, a 132-MW wind farm by a joint venture between Ørsted and Eversource Energy. (See BOEM Hears Public Support for South Fork OSW.)
Economic Benefits Cited
Although OSW is seen as central to meeting decarbonization goals, state officials and the Biden administration have primarily touted the projects for their economic development potential.
The administration said the economic gains won’t be limited to coastal states, noting that workers in Alabama and West Virginia are supplying 10,000 tons of domestic steel to a Texas shipyard that is building the nation’s first Jones Act-compliant wind turbine installation vessel for Dominion Energy.
The administration says the 30-GW target would generate more than $12 billion in annual capital spending and result in more than 44,000 workers directly employed in OSW by 2030 and nearly 33,000 additional spinoff jobs in communities supported by OSW.
The Department of Energy “is going to marshal every resource we have to get as many American companies, using as many sheets of American steel, employing as many American workers as possible in offshore wind energy,” Granholm said.
“This commitment to a new, untapped industry will create pathways to the middle class for people from all backgrounds and communities,” McCarthy said.
Also Monday, the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration invited port authorities and others to apply for $230 million in grants for port and intermodal infrastructure-related projects. The funding could be used to strengthen and modernize port infrastructure and create storage areas and docks for wind energy vessels.
For its part, DOE said it will offer $3 billion in loans to OSW and offshore transmission developers and suppliers. The department has already loaned $1.6 billion for OSW projects totaling about 1,000 MW.
The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium (NOWRDC), created by DOE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced $8 million in awards to 15 OSW research-and-development projects selected in a competitive process. The projects will focus on offshore support structure innovation, supply chain development, electrical systems innovation and mitigation of use conflicts. Created in 2018 with $20.5 million from DOE and matching funds from NYSERDA, the fund has raised a total of $47 million following contributions from Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts and Maine.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced $1 million in grant funding for research proposals to increase understanding of the effects of OSW on the ocean and local communities and economies.
NOAA also said it has an agreement with Ørsted to share physical and biological data in waters leased by the company. The agency said it hopes to reach similar agreements with other leaseholders to fill gaps in the science regarding ocean mapping and observing.