The United States is looking to hold up to seven lease sales by 2025 to expand offshore wind energy capacity from coast to coast.
The Biden administration has set a goal to expand U.S. offshore wind capacity to 30,000 MW by 2030, which could power more than 10 million homes. The United States now has only two operational offshore wind farms with combined capacity of 12 MW. The wind energy target is part of President Biden’s executive order in January that called for a government-wide approach to tackle the climate crisis.
Offshore wind auctions are being considered for the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, Central Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, as well as offshore the Carolinas, California and Oregon.
“The Interior Department is laying out an ambitious roadmap as we advance the administration’s plans to confront climate change, create good paying jobs, and accelerate the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” said Secretary Deb Haaland.
“This timetable provides two crucial ingredients for success: increased certainty and transparency. Together, we will meet our clean energy goals while addressing the needs of other ocean users and potentially impacted communities. We have big goals to achieve a clean energy economy and Interior is meeting the moment.”
A final decision also is forthcoming on whether to approve South Fork Wind, which could be the second commercial-scale offshore wind farm in federal waters, Haaland said in Boston at the American Clean Power’s Offshore Windpower Conference & Exhibition. Interior in May approved Vineyard Wind, which when completed would be the first commercial-scale project.
Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) now is working on guidelines to identify areas that could be used for offshore wind leasing. BOEM plans to consider “innovative” lease stipulations that would include reporting requirements aimed at lessening conflicts with other ocean users. It also is reviewing mechanisms for labor agreements and ways to invest in the domestic supply chain.
“We are working to facilitate a pipeline of projects that will establish confidence for the offshore wind industry,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “At the same time, we want to reduce potential conflicts as much as we can while meeting the administration’s goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. This means we will engage early and often with all stakeholders prior to identifying any new wind energy areas.”
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