Proposes first-ever Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease sale; welcomes California and Louisiana to Federal-State Partnership to build America’s supply chain and increase skilled workforce for offshore wind
February 24, 2024
Washington D.C. On February 23, 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration announced its latest steps to expand offshore wind jobs and local economic development across the country. These actions, which include proposing the first-ever Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease sale, are advancing President Biden’s clean energy and economic agenda to revitalize American manufacturing and harness American innovation to deliver reliable, affordable power to homes and businesses, while saving families money and strengthening energy security.
These actions—alongside investments from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—will spur offshore wind deployment beyond the East Coast, boost American leadership on floating offshore wind technologies, and create good-paying jobs for workers throughout the nation, by:
- Advancing Offshore Wind in the Gulf of Mexico: For the first time, the Department of the Interior (DOI) is announcing a proposed offshore wind lease sale for three areas in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Texas and Louisiana. These areas have the potential to generate enough clean energy to power almost 1.3 million homes. The proposed auction includes provisions that would incentivize new investments in workforce training and a domestic supply chain, to expand economic opportunities across offshore wind manufacturing, port operations, and more. DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) collaborated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to analyze the entire Gulf of Mexico ecosystem to find areas that have the least conflict with other uses and the lowest environmental impact. (PHOTO: the University of Maine’s VolturnUS – the first offshore wind prototype in the Gulf of Maine was successful in generating energy back to the grid and is the design, by Dr. Habib Dagher and his team, that will be deployed)
- Expanding the Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership: Last year, President Biden joined East Coast governors to launch the Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership, with eleven states working alongside the Administration to maximize the benefits of Atlantic offshore wind development for workers and communities. Now, following DOI’s recent California offshore wind auction and ahead of the proposed Gulf of Mexico offshore wind auction, both California and Louisiana are joining the Partnership to collaborate with federal agencies and other states on priorities including building an American supply chain and skilled workforce for offshore wind. California Governor Gavin Newsom and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards have been leaders on seizing clean energy opportunities that create good-paying jobs, lower costs for families, and reduce climate pollution.
- Accelerating Progress on Floating Offshore Wind: The Departments of Energy, the Interior, Commerce, and Transportation held a Floating Offshore Wind Shot Summit, that convened a broad range of leaders across sectors to advance the Administration’s goal of reducing the costs of floating offshore wind energy by over 70 percent by 2035.
Floating technologies are key to harnessing about two-thirds of U.S. offshore wind energy potential, including along the West Coast, Gulf of Maine, and other deep-water areas. The Summit brought together Administration leaders, Governors, Members of Congress, industry and labor leaders, and a wide array of stakeholders working to advance innovation priorities, infrastructure buildout, community engagement, and other key aspects of floating offshore wind deployment.
As part of this Summit, the Department of Energy announced new efforts on transmission planning and research partnerships to support floating offshore wind on the West Coast.
President Biden has taken decisive action to jumpstart the American offshore wind industry, ushering in billions of dollars in investments since he took office—including $9.8 billion in new investments in 2022 alone, more than triple the previous year. While advancing the first large-scale projects, and new manufacturing and port activity along the East Coast, the Administration has also supported development of the entire supply chain that stretches across other regions, from steel production in Alabama, Kentucky, and West Virginia to shipbuilding in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and beyond.
The President has also set bold goals of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030, as well as 15 GW specifically of floating offshore wind by 2035. The White House, federal agencies, states, and other key stakeholders are coordinating to achieve the President’s goals while advancing environmental justice, protecting biodiversity, supporting the creation of good-paying jobs, and promoting ocean co-use. In addition to executive actions, the Administration is also working to swiftly implement provisions of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will further accelerate offshore wind, including clean energy tax credits to support manufacturing and deployment, as well as investments in transmission and port infrastructure.
Building on Recent Administration Actions
Just in the first few weeks of 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration has already taken several new steps to continue historic progress on offshore wind development, with key highlights including:
- Permitting and Leasing Progress: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced the availability of its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed SouthCoast Wind project offshore Massachusetts—the seventh offshore wind project draft EIS that this Administration has issued. BOEM also issued a proposed rule to streamline regulations for offshore wind and other clean energy development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf and advanced the State of Maine’s application for a research lease that could help inform the deployment of floating offshore wind technology nationwide. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also recently published a proposed rule to further environmental compliance for the Sunrise Wind project, the third such proposed rule it has published for offshore wind projects in the last five months.
- Supply Chain Buildout: The Department of Energy (DOE) and National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium announced the release of the U.S. Offshore Wind Supply Chain Roadmap, a detailed National Renewable Energy Laboratory report developed with key industry and state government partners, describing how the United States can develop a robust and equitable domestic supply chain that delivers jobs and economic benefits while meeting the national offshore wind target of 30 GW by 2030. Through the Administration’s Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership, states and federal agencies are collaborating to fill key gaps identified by the Roadmap and boost capabilities across manufacturing facilities, ports, workforce training programs, and more.
- Port Infrastructure Development: The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration announced more than $660 million available through the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) for Fiscal Year 2023, to fund port-related infrastructure projects that can include support for a range of clean energy opportunities. For example, last year the Administration awarded PIDP grants that included nearly $100 million for port projects that will advance offshore wind deployment.
- Innovation Support: DOE announced a $30 million funding opportunity to advance innovative manufacturing processes (such as 3-D printing) and improved performance of composite materials to allow large wind turbines to produce power more efficiently. To support clean energy breakthroughs including through the Floating Offshore Wind Shot, DOE also announced $200 million for Energy Earthshot Research Centers to bring together multi-disciplinary teams to tackle key technological challenges.
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