White House unveils plan for massive expansion of U.S. offshore wind

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Image: Siemens Gamesa

With a target of generating 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030, the Biden administration today announced plans to jump start the industry that, among other things, foresees the construction of four to six specialized wind turbine installation vessels (WITVs) in U.S. shipyards, each representing an investment between $250 and $500 million.

$3 BILLION LOAN PROGRAM

Part of the initiative announced today includes access to $3 billion in debt capital to support offshore wind industry through the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO). A fact sheet released by the Loan Programs Office is intended to signal that LPO is open for business and ready to partner with offshore wind and offshore transmission developers, suppliers, and other financing partners to scale the U.S. offshore industry.

To date, LPO has provided $1.6 billion in support of projects totaling about 1,000 MW of onshore wind.

30 GW BY 2030

The 30 GW by 2030 target is ambitious. To put it in perspective, the U.K.—which has been investing heavily in offshore wind for quite some—is targeting 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030, including 1GW from floating wind.

One highlight of the White House plan is designating a new priority Wind Energy Area in the New York Bight—an area of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast—and setting a target of generating 30 Gigawatts (30,000 megawatts) of offshore wind energy from U.S.waters by 2030.

DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) plans to advance new lease sales and complete review of at least 16 Construction and Operations Plans (COPs) by 2025, representing more than 19 GW of new clean energy for the U.S.

PERMITTING SPEED-UP

BOEM is also advancing critical permitting milestones for Ørsted’s 1,100 MW Ocean Wind offshore wind project off New Jersey. BOEM is announcing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Ocean Wind, putting it in line to become America’s third commercial scale offshore wind project. BOEM previously announced environmental reviews for Vineyard Wind (Mass.) and South Fork (R.I.), and anticipates initiating the environmental reviews for up to 10 additional projects later this year.

PORT INFRASTRUCTURE GRANTS

In a move to help ensure port infrastructure can support the pace of offshore wind development, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration today is announcing a Notice of Funding Opportunity for port authorities and other applicants to apply for $230 million for port and intermodal infrastructure-related projects through the Port Infrastructure Development Program.

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