WASHINGTON — Seven major offshore wind farms will be developed along the east and west coasts and the Gulf of Mexico under a plan announced Wednesday by the Biden administration.
The projects are part of President Joe Biden’s plan to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, generating enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said her department expects lease sales along the coasts of Maine, New York and the mid-Atlantic as well as the Carolinas, California, Oregon and the Gulf of Mexico by 2025. Officials said the projects are part of Biden’s plan to combat climate change and could avoid about 78 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions while creating 77,000 jobs.
“The Interior Department is preparing an ambitious road map as we advance the administration’s plans to combat climate change, create well-paying jobs and accelerate the country’s transition to a clean energy future,” said Hollande. ” “We have big goals to achieve a clean energy economy and Interior is meeting the moment.”
In addition to offshore wind, the Interior Department is working with other federal agencies to increase renewable energy generation on public lands, Haaland said, with a goal of at least 25 gigawatts of onshore renewable energy from wind and solar power by 2025.
Haaland and Amanda Lefton, directors of the department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said officials hope to minimize potential conflicts with fishing groups and other ocean users as much as possible. “This means we will engage with all stakeholders early and often before we identify any new wind energy areas,” Lefton said in a statement.
Commercial fishing businesses have said offshore wind projects planned off the east coast will make it difficult to harvest valuable seafood species such as scallops and lobster. Some conservation groups also fear the large turbines will kill thousands of birds.
The White House said Biden has set a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts, or 30,000 megawatts, of offshore wind power in the United States by 2030. Meeting the target could mean jobs for more than 44,000 workers and 33,000 others, the White House said.
The bureau completed a construction and operation plan review earlier this year for the Vineyard Wind Project 15 miles off the Massachusetts coast. The agency is reviewing nine additional projects, including the South Fork Wind Farm near Long Island, New York, and the Ocean Wind project near New Jersey.
The Vineyard Wind is expected to generate about 800 MW of electricity and the South Fork about 132 MW. The largest project, Ocean Wind, has a total capacity of 1,100 MW, enough energy to power 500,000 homes in New Jersey.
The administration has committed to process another 13 projects currently under federal review by 2025.
The Ocean Energy Agency has said it is targeting offshore wind projects in shallow waters near Long Island and New Jersey. A recent study suggests the sector could support 25,000 growth and construction jobs by 2030, the Interior Department said.
Heather Zeichl, a former climate adviser to President Barack Obama who now leads the renewable energy group, the American Clean Power Association, said Biden’s goal for offshore wind was “ambitious but achievable. Wind Power’s goal of reaching 100” is an essential part of .percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035, he said.
In a related announcement, the Energy Department said it is spending $11.5 million to study the risks that offshore wind development could pose to birds, bats and marine mammals, and commercial fish at an offshore wind site on the East Coast. and survey changes in marine invertebrate populations.
The department will spend $2 million on visual surveys and acoustic monitoring of marine mammals and sea birds at potential wind sites on the West Coast.
“In order to see the benefits of offshore wind for Americans living in coastal areas, we must make sure it is done with care for the surrounding ecosystem, along with fisheries and marine life – and that is exactly what the investment will do. ,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a news release.