Biden seeks to position US as global offshore wind energy lead

The Biden administration aims to transform the United States into the world’s leading producer of energy from offshore wind, according to Amanda Lefton, director of the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The administration’s plan this week set a goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes.

Such a move would catapult the US into the world’s leading player in the offshore wind energy market. Europe, by contrast, produces in the region of 20 GW of capacity from offshore wind at present.

However, while the US might take the lead over the next decade,  Europe’s long-terms ambitions would actually see it expand its offshore wind energy capacity by more than ten-fold by 2050.

The BOEM plan would seek to create a domestic supply chain to support the industry and provide tens of thousands of jobs, including for workers that usually support oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, Lefton said.

“We have an industry in the United States that knows how to do energy development in the Outer Continental Shelf,” she said.

BOEM this week said it had identified new areas for potential wind development off the coast of New York, and Lefton said the agency hoped to establish similar areas in the Pacific Ocean “within this year.”

Once those areas are established, specific lease sites are determined and undergo environmental reviews before they are offered to developers at auction.

“We have a president and an administration that is really harnessing this opportunity to fight climate change and to create good paying union jobs,”, Lefton said. “We will soon be leading in this industry.”

The administration has been criticized by oil and gas producers and Gulf Coast officials after Biden ordered a freeze of new federal drilling leases to conduct a review balancing the program’s economic benefits against its environmental costs.

They argue the pause, which is widely seen as a precursor to a permanent ban, will adversely affect jobs and reduce state revenues.