US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has announced plans for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to potentially hold up to seven new offshore lease sales by 2025.
The announcement was made during a speech at the American Clean Power’s Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition in Boston, Massachusetts, and supports the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to deploy 30GW of offshore wind energy by 2030.
Wind leasing is planned for the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, Central Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as offshore the Carolinas, California, and Oregon.
“The Interior Department is laying out an ambitious roadmap as we advance the Administration’s plans to confront climate change, create good-paying jobs, and accelerate the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” said Secretary Haaland.
“This timetable provides two crucial ingredients for success: increased certainty and transparency. Together, we will meet our clean energy goals while addressing the needs of other ocean users and potentially impacted communities. We have big goals to achieve a clean energy economy and Interior is meeting the moment.”
BOEM is working to identify additional areas that may be suitable for offshore wind energy leasing, as well as developing clear objectives and guidelines that can be shared with government agencies, Tribes, and industry to minimise the impact of the project on local fisheries and the environment.
“We are working to facilitate a pipeline of projects that will establish confidence for the offshore wind industry,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “At the same time, we want to reduce potential conflicts as much as we can… This means we will engage early and often with all stakeholders prior to identifying any new Wind Energy Areas.”
As part of the development, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $13.5 million in funding to provide critical environmental and wildlife data to support offshore wind development.
“Harnessing the incredible potential that exists within offshore wind energy is an essential piece of reaching a net-zero carbon future,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “In order for Americans living in coastal areas to see the benefits of offshore wind, we must ensure that it’s done with care for the surrounding ecosystem by co-existing with fisheries and marine life – and that’s exactly what this investment will do.”
In response to the announcement, Hitachi Energy’s Anthony Allard, Head of North America, commented: “President Biden’s proposal to develop seven major offshore wind farms on the East and West coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico is a significant step forward for our clean energy future.
“With the administration’s plan to deploy 30GW of offshore wind energy by 2030 and generate enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes, it’s evident that offshore wind has the potential to provide clean, renewable energy to businesses and residences throughout the country, making this ambitious goal achievable.
“Investing in renewable energy and efforts to make our electric grids more flexible and resilient is imperative to deliver on the promise of a carbon-neutral future, slow the pace of climate change, and mitigate extreme weather events. To accomplish this goal will require the fundamentals in place: natural resources, decreasing costs, location, public and cooperative support, and government support.”