The Biden administration has set a goal of developing 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy nationwide by 2030. A report cited by the administration found investment by the burgeoning offshore wind industry will be worth $109 billion in the next ten years.
Heather Zichal, chief executive of the American Clean Power Association, which represents wind, solar, storage and transmission companies, said the lease sale “blew our expectations out of the water” and heralded a new era of demand for clean energy.
“This is a major step forward for the U.S. in terms of standing up a new industry, the domestic manufacturing opportunities that come with it and another market signal in favor of U.S. energy independence,” she said.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an arm of the Interior Department that oversees offshore activity, designated the New York Bight a “priority offshore wind area” in March of 2021. Last month, Secretary Haaland and the governors of New York and New Jersey issued a “shared vision” for bolstering the offshore wind energy domestic supply chain in the region.
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Over the past year the Biden administration also gave final approval to the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and said it would open California’s coast to wind farms. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management also is expected to review 16 plans to construct and operate commercial offshore wind facilities by 2025, which the agency said would represent more than 22 gigawatts of clean energy.
Timothy Fox, a vice president and analyst with Clearview Energy Partners, a Washington-based research firm, said he believed state policies had boosted investment as much as federal initiatives. He noted that New York and New Jersey had ambitious targets for offshore wind deployment — 9,000 megawatts and 7,500 megawatts, respectively, by 2035.
At the same time, he and others noted, the fishing industry has argued that wind farms will conflict with prime commercial fishing areas for scallops, clams and other seafood.