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Biden Administration Announces Offshore Wind Push, Including 30 GW Goal by 2030

  • Biden administration announces a major initiative on offshore wind development over the next decade
  • Plans include financing, accelerating environmental impact statements, and the creation of a new Wind Energy Area
  • Goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity set for 2030

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The Biden Administration has announced a major push to accelerate offshore wind development, including a goal to increase the United States offshore wind capacity more than seven hundredfold by 2030.

The initiatives build off an executive order issued by President Joe Biden in his first week in office calling for new infrastructure and a clean energy economy. Biden said the offshore wind energy has the potential to boost jobs and economic opportunities along the coasts as well as inland supply chains, including a higher demand for steel and the development of factories and ships to support offshore installations.

The initiative includes:

New York Bight Wind Energy Area

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is announcing the creation of a new priority Wind Energy Area in the New York Bight. A recent study showed that this stretch of shallow water can support up to 25,000 development and construction jobs from 2022 to 2030, with another 7,000 jobs in coastal communities supported through development efforts.

The Bight is located close to the New York City metro area, creating the potential for offshore wind developments to supply power to approximately 20 million people. BOEM plans to publish a Proposed Sale Notice regarding the area, followed by a formal public comment period and a lease sale to take place later this year or early in 2022.

A 30 GW goal

The administration has established a goal of reaching a capacity of 30 gigawatts of offshore energy by 2030 while also protecting ocean biodiversity and maintaining the “co-use” of the ocean. It estimates that this would provide energy for about 10 million homes a year, reduce carbon emissions by 78 million metric tons, and create more than 44,000 jobs in the industry as well as 33,000 additional onshore jobs.

To meet the goal, BOEM will advance new lease sales and complete the review of at least 16 Construction and Operations Plans by 2025. These planned developments represent about 19 gigawatts of new energy.

The administration says that it the goal is achieved, it would open the path to achieving 110 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2050. It says this expansion would create another 77,000 jobs in the industry and 57,000 onshore jobs.

The goal represents a massive increase over the current offshore wind capacity in the U.S. There are only two utility scale offshore wind operations in place: a 30-megawatt installation off Block Island and a 12-megawatt installation off Virginia. However, several other offshore installations have also been proposed or are in development.

American offshore wind capacity lags far behind Europe, which has approximately 25 gigawatts in capacity. However, the Biden goal also represents only a fraction of the two terrawatt offshore wind capacity the Department of Energy suggests is available off the U.S. coasts and in the Great Lakes.

Accelerated environmental impact statements

Following its completion of environmental reviews for the Vineyard Wind and South Fork projects, BOEM has issued a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for Ocean Wind. It also plans to initiative environmental reviews for up to 10 additional projects later this year.

The three combined projects represent just over two gigawatts of capacity. Ocean Wind is a planned 1.1-gigawatt installation off New Jersey, while South Fork Wind will create a 132-megawatt installation off Long Island. Vineyard Wind, off Massachusetts, will have a capacity of 800 megawatts.

South Fork Wind is one of the installations the Danish wind developer Ørsted and utility company Eversource plan to support through State Pier in New London after a $157 million overhaul of State Pier in New London to create a pre-assembly and staging facility for wind turbine generators. The pier is also slated to support the partners’ Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind projects.


The State Pier project could potentially receive support through the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, which plans to provide $230 million in grants to improve port and intermodal infrastructure. The grants will support upgrades such as storage areas, laydown areas, and dock upgrades to allow wind energy vessels to load and move items to offshore wind farms.

Bridgeport is also slated to serve as a hub for offshore wind projects. Construction at the city’s deep water port is scheduled to begin in 2023 to upgrade Barnum Landing as a staging area to support Vineyard Wind’s proposed Park City Wind installation, an 804-megawatt development to be located 23 miles off the Massachusetts coast.

The Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office released a fact sheet to support $3 billion in financing to support the offshore wind industry and its scaling efforts. The office has provided $1.6 billion in financing for offshore wind to date.

The administration also noted how the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, which was created by the Department of Energy and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, is awarding $8 million for 15 offshore wind research and development projects. The recipients include ThayerMahan in Groton, which received funding for its initiative to use synthetic aperture sonar to detect and prevent faults in submarine transmission cables.

Other support

The administration announced that the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is partnering with Ørsted. Under the agreement, the developer will share data on physical and biological data in Ørsted-leased waters under U.S. jurisdiction

NOAA’s Northeast Sea Grant is issuing a request for research proposals to support more than $1 million in grant funding. These grants aim to “improve understanding of offshore renewable energy for the benefit of a diversity of stakeholders, including fishing and coastal communities.”

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