Home Commodities Biden administration creates federal-state offshore wind development partnership

Biden administration creates federal-state offshore wind development partnership



Forum includes 11 East Coast governors

Partnership provides support for vessels

The US Department of Energy said June 23 that it will lead the development of a comprehensive offshore wind supply chain roadmap to help meet the Biden administration’s goal of 30 GW of offshore wind power capacity by 2030 and 100% clean electricity by 2035.

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“Working together – states and the federal government – we can blow the lid off our growing domestic offshore wind industry and get us to our clean energy future faster,” US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

“The new Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership will help build a strong domestic supply chain for offshore wind, and a foundation for delivering an abundance of clean energy along with more good-paying jobs,” Granholm said.

Dubbed a “first of its kind” by the DOE, the forum between 11 East Coast governors and Biden administration officials will help build a “strong, US-based supply chain for offshore wind, grow a skilled US workforce, and accelerate work to address important regional matters,” according to the statement.

The states considered early leaders in offshore wind development are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Reaching the 30 GW by 2030 goal could result in $12 billion in annual offshore wind project investment, which could also result in constructing up to 10 manufacturing plants for offshore wind turbine components and new ships to install the turbines, the DOE said.

The energy department estimates that hitting the 30 GW target would power more than 10 million homes and cut 78 million mt of carbon dioxide emissions.

Support for vessels

The Biden administration is designating offshore wind vessels as “Vessels of National Interest” to facilitate more offshore wind construction, according to a White House fact sheet.

Specifically, the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration said June 23 that the Vessels of National Interest designation will provide support through the Federal Ship Financing Program, giving these applications priority for review and funding.

The program assists the domestic shipbuilding industry by providing support for US shipyards to modernize their facilities, build and retrofit vessels, and to assist US shipowners to cost-effectively obtain domestically produced new vessels, the White House said.

According to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory report released in late March, achieving 30 GW of offshore wind capacity will require at least:

  • 2,100 wind turbines and foundations
  • 6,800 miles of cable
  • Five to six wind turbine installation vessels
  • 10 feeder barges to transport components
  • Four cable lay vessels
  • An average annual workforce between 12,300 and 49,000 full-time equivalents

As a next step, Secretary Granholm announced a July workshop for stakeholders, including state officials, to provide input on a roadmap that will be released “later this year,” laying out actions needed to meet the supply chain needs.

In 2021, investors announced $2.2 billion in incremental funding, including commitments to develop nine major manufacturing facilities to produce the foundations, towers, cables, and blades for offshore wind turbines, the White House said.

The administration estimates there is a $109 billion revenue opportunity across the offshore wind supply chain this decade, with East Coast state governors laying much of the groundwork.

“Having already set commitments to procure nearly 40 GW of offshore wind, these states are providing a strong demand signal for clean energy that will lower energy costs for American families while protecting them from volatile fossil fuel price spikes,” the White House said in the fact sheet.

The Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership will expand to include governors from the West Coast and the Gulf of Mexico as offshore wind energy projects develop in those regions, the White House said.

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