Biden Administration Announces 'Ambitious' Offshore Wind Plan

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Posted: Oct 14, 2021 9:45 AM
Biden Administration Announces 'Ambitious' Offshore Wind Plan

Source: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced the administration is moving forward with an "ambitious" plan to develop large-scale wind farms “along nearly the entire coastline of the United States,” according to The New York Times.

“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 Haaland. 

To meet the administration’s wind energy goal by 2030, Haaland said the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management could hold up to seven new offshore lease sales in the next four years in the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, Central Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and offshore the Carolinas, California, and Oregon.

“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," she added.

Still, there is no guarantee that companies will lease space in the federal waters and build wind farms. Once the offshore areas are identified, they will be subject to lengthy federal, state and local reviews. If the potential sites could harm endangered species, conflict with military activity, damage underwater archaeological sites, or harm local industries such as tourism, the federal government could deem them unsuitable for leasing.

As they have in response to other offshore wind farms, commercial fishing groups and coastal landowners will likely try to stop the projects. In the Gulf of Mexico, where oil and gas exploration is a major part of the economy, fossil fuel companies could fight the development of wind energy as a threat to not only their local operations but their entire business model.

“To be making these announcements, and making them in ways that are very political, without looking at what that means, what area, when we still don’t know what the effects are going to be of these projects is really problematic,” said Anne Hawkins, executive director of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, a coalition of fishing groups. “In an ideal world, when you welcome a new industry, you do it in phases, not all at once.” (NYT)

While progressives praised the announcement, others pointed out why it's a misguided approach.

Meanwhile, in the UK...