Biden administration gives offshore wind farms a big boost
Source: The Verge
Offshore wind farms could be coming to nearly every coastline along the continental US. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland today announced plans to auction off leases to developers for up to seven new areas by 2025. That includes waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Maine, Central Atlantic, New York Bight (between Long Island and New Jersey), and off the coasts of Oregon, California, and the Carolinas.
It’s a big scaling up of offshore wind in the US, which lags far behind Europe when it comes to deployment. The US’ first commercial-scale offshore wind farm just got federal approval in May. Two existing, smaller operations in US waters have a combined capacity of just 42 megawatts. The Biden administration set a goal of pushing capacity up to 30,000 MW by 2030. Europe, home to a majority of the world’s offshore wind, already had nearly that much installed in 2020.
The US’ first offshore wind projects are all along the East Coast. Expanding to other shores will come with new technical challenges. On the Pacific coast, waters get much deeper, much closer to shore compared to the US’ Atlantic coastline. That makes it more difficult to affix turbines to the seafloor. The White House announced in May that it would open up two areas off the California coast to commercial-scale wind farms and indicated that it might turn to new technology for floating wind farms.