The Biden Administration announced a series of measures to support rapid offshore wind deployment, including designation of a new wind energy area and targeting the deployment of 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.
New Wind Energy Area. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is announcing a new priority Wind Energy Area in the New York Bight—an area of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast. This new Wind Energy Area is adjacent to the greater metropolitan Tri-State area—the largest metropolitan population center in the United States that is home to more than 20 million people and their energy needs. The next step is for BOEM to publish a Proposed Sale Notice, followed by a formal public comment period and a lease sale in late 2021 or early 2022.
Deploying 30 GW of Offshore Wind by 2030. The Departments of Interior (DOI), Energy (DOE), and Commerce (DOC) are announcing a shared goal to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind in the United States by 2030, while protecting biodiversity and promoting ocean co-use. Meeting this target will trigger more than $12 billion per year in capital investment in projects on both US coasts. It will also generate enough power to meet the demand of more than 10 million American homes for a year, and avoid 78 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.
To position the domestic offshore wind industry to meet the 2030 target, 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 US.
Meeting the 2030 target will catalyze significant supply chain benefits, including new port upgrade investments totaling more than $500 million; one to two new US factories for each major windfarm component including wind turbine nacelles, blades, towers, foundations, and subsea cables; additional cumulative demand of more than 7 million tons of steel—equivalent to 4 years of output for a typical U.S. steel mill; and the construction of 4 to 6 specialized turbine installation vessels in US shipyards, each representing an investment between $250 and $500 million.
Achieving this target also will unlock a pathway to 110 GW by 2050, the Administration said.
Advancing critical permitting milestones for the Ocean Wind Offshore Wind Project. 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. Ocean Wind has proposed an offshore wind project with a total capacity of 1,100 megawatts (MW)—enough to power 500,000 homes across New Jersey. BOEM previously announced environmental reviews for Vineyard Wind (MA) and South Fork (RI), and anticipates initiating the environmental reviews for up to ten additional projects later this year.
Investing in Port Infrastructure to Support Offshore Wind. The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration 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. Port Infrastructure Development Grants support projects that strengthen and modernize port infrastructure, and can support shore-side wind energy projects, such as storage areas, laydown areas, and docking of wind energy vessels to load and move items to offshore wind farms.
Access to $3 billion in Debt Capital to Support Offshore Wind Industry through DOE Loan Programs Office. DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) released a fact sheet to facilitate access for the offshore wind industry for $3 billion in funding through LPO’s Title XVII Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program. The fact sheet signals 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 US offshore industry and support well-paying jobs. To date, LPO has provided $1.6 billion in support of projects totaling about 1,000 MW of onshore wind.
Offshore wind R&D funding through the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium. The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium (NOWRDC), created by the DOE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), is announcing the award of $8 million to 15 offshore wind research and development projects that were selected through a competitive process.
The new projects will focus on offshore support structure innovation, supply chain development, electrical systems innovation, and mitigation of use conflicts that will help reduce barriers and costs for offshore wind deployment.
The NOWRDC was established in 2018 with a $20.5-million DOE investment, matching funds from NYSERDA, and with follow-on contributions from state agencies in Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Maine—all resulting in a total investment of around $47 million.
Partnering with Industry on Data-Sharing. The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is signing a Memorandum of Agreement with Ørsted, an offshore wind development company, to share physical and biological data in Ørsted-leased waters subject to US jurisdiction.
This agreement is the first of its kind between an offshore wind developer and NOAA, and paves the way for future data-sharing agreements that NOAA expects to enter into with other developers. NOAA anticipates that Ørsted’s and other companies’ data will fill gaps in ocean science areas—particularly in ocean mapping and observing—in service of NOAA’s mission to advance climate adaptation and mitigation, weather-readiness, healthy oceans, and resilient coastal communities and economies.
Studying Offshore Wind Impacts. NOAA’s Northeast Sea Grant programs, in partnership with DOE, DOC, and NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, is releasing a request for research proposals to support more than $1 million in grant funding to improve understanding of offshore renewable energy for the benefit of a diversity of stakeholders, including fishing and coastal communities. Grant funding will support objective community-based research in the Northeast to further understanding of the effects of offshore renewable energy on the ocean and local communities and economies as well as opportunities to optimize ocean co-use.