Biden administration gives offshore wind farms a big boost

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There will be challenges ahead, but there is no time to give up

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Offshore wind farms can be found on nearly every coastline along the continental US. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland today announced The plan is to auction leases to developers for seven new areas by 2025. This includes waters off the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of Maine, the Central Atlantic, the New York Bight (between Long Island and New Jersey), and Oregon. , California, and the Carolinas.

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This is a major scaling up of offshore wind in the US, which lags far behind Europe in terms of deployment. America’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm received federal approval in May. The combined capacity of the two existing, smaller operations in US waters is only 42 MW. Biden administration sets target to increase capacity 30,000 MW by 2030. Europe, home to most of the world’s offshore winds, was already nearly so established 2020.

America’s first offshore wind projects are on the East Coast. Expanding to other shores will come with new technological challenges. On the Pacific coast, the water becomes much deeper, much closer to the coast than on the Atlantic coast of America. This makes it more difficult to connect the turbines to the ocean floor. The White House announced in May that it would open two areas off the California coast to commercial-scale wind farms and indicated it may be turning to new technology for temporary wind farms.

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Turbines in the Gulf of Mexico must cope with recent storms and soft soil studies Received from National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Nevertheless, shallow water and small waves make the bay ripe for wind development. The new offshore wind industry here could potentially also benefit from existing infrastructure and learn from the region’s history of offshore oil and gas drilling. very First Wind Farm Off the Coast of Rhode Island Built with the help of Louisiana ships.

“We are working to facilitate a pipeline of projects that will build confidence for the offshore wind industry,” Amanda Lefton, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said in a statement today. It can still take years to get offshore turbines up and running. Proposed wind farms have historically struggled with permitting delays, local protests and a lack of specialized installation ships.

But with droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, and coastal flooding in the US becoming more intense as a result of climate change, there is no time to lose in the transition to clean energy. The Biden administration’s offshore wind push is part of a larger goal to run the country’s electricity grid entirely on clean energy by 2035 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to near zero by 2050.

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