Joan M. Bondareff and Dana S. Merkel
UPDATE: In the first week of his presidency, President Biden, by Executive Order, set a goal of doubling offshore wind by 2030—an ambitious goal to help put the United States on a path to meet its commitments under the Paris Climate Accords, which President Biden rejoined. To implement the general goal, the three lead departments—Interior (“DOI”), Energy (“DOE”), and Commerce (“DOC”)—subsequently committed to working towards a specific 30 gigawatts (GW) goal by 2030 while protecting biodiversity, promoting ocean co-use, and creating tens of thousands of jobs. (See FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Jumpstarts Offshore Wind Energy Projects to Create Jobs.) This article describes the progress made thus far in meeting this goal and discusses any remaining impediments.
Current Progress on Offshore Wind in the United States
To date, the Biden administration, along with previous administrations, have:
- Approved 18 offshore wind leases in federal waters;
- Approved the largest offshore wind farm to be constructed in federal waters (e., the Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts);
- Identified five new Wind Energy Areas (“WEAs”) for potential leasing in the area of the New York Bight;
- Began the process of identifying additional WEAs in the Gulf of Mexico and off California; and
- Issued several notices of intent to begin the environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) for additional wind farms off New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
These steps alone have moved the administration closer to meeting or even exceeding its 30 GW goal with a total of 35,000 megawatts (MW) plus in the pipeline, according to a recent definitive report from the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (See Offshore Wind Market Report: 2021 Edition Released.)Continue reading “Can the Biden Administration Meet Its Offshore Wind Goals?”