On 29 March secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland joined the secretaries of Energy, Commerce, and Transportation in a White House forum to meet with representatives from states, the offshore wind industry, and members of the labour community to identify solutions to the greatest challenges facing the development of this new industry. Agencies across the federal government intend to avance the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of increasing renewable energy development on federal lands and waters.
The event included a commitment by these departments to establish a target to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.
“For generations, we’ve put off the transition to clean energy and now we’re facing a climate crisis. … As our country faces the interlocking challenges of a global pandemic, economic downturn, racial injustice, and the climate crisis – we must transition to a brighter future for everyone,” commented Deb Haaland.
At the forum the final Wind Energy Areas (WEA) in the New York Bight – an area of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast – were announced. These are locations identified in the department’s Area Identification process to find the offshore locations that appear most suitable for wind energy development, taking into consideration co-existence with other users of the waterways. The WEAs are adjacent to the urban area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
The Interior dept is initiating an environmental review of the country’s third commercial scale offshore wind project by announcing a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Ocean Wind, LLC’s proposed 1.1 GW project offshore New Jersey. The Department previously announced environmental reviews for Vineyard Wind (Massachusetts) and South Fork (Rhode Island) and anticipates initiating the environmental reviews for up to ten additional projects later this year.
At the forum, delegates discussed key opportunities and challenges to ensuring domestic economic and employment benefits of aggressively expanding offshore wind, and discussed establishing a comprehensive strategy to establish domestic offshore wind manufacturing capabilities, a robust supply chain, and a domestic service industry to support offshore wind installation and maintenance on the USA’s outer continental shelf.