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Photo shows the installation of the first offshore wind turbine at South Fork Wind

The first offshore wind turbine is installed at the South Fork Wind project offshore New York. Photo courtesy New York State

Biden Administration and Maryland Join Forces to Explore New Wind Energy Areas

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 550
December 11, 2023

Members of the Biden Administration, along with various departments and officials, have announced a joint commitment to evaluate additional areas off the coast of Maryland that could potentially support offshore wind energy projects.

The collaboration includes the Department of the Interior, Department of Defense, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as well as U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Maryland Governor Wes Moore.

Under the joint commitment, the administration and the State of Maryland will work together to advance the review of these areas, aligning with the goals of Maryland’s Promoting Offshore Wind Energy Resources Act. They will also consider how federal and state efforts can address any necessary mitigation related to existing offshore activities. These efforts are part of the broader plan by the Biden administration to boost the American offshore wind industry, aiming to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.

Today’s announcement follows the release of a proposed sale notice by the Department of the Interior, which plans to conduct an offshore wind lease sale in mid-2024 for approximately 278,000 acres in the Central Atlantic. The sale has the potential to generate enough clean energy to power over 2.2 million homes. However, the identified area known as WEA B-1, which was previously considered for leasing, has been deemed unviable due to significant costs and required mitigation efforts.

In lieu of WEA B-1, the administration has identified a similar-sized area off Maryland’s coast with the potential for wind energy generation. This area, along with other potential offshore wind areas along the Central Atlantic coastline, will undergo further analysis and may be included in a future offshore wind lease sale as early as 2025.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed its environmental review of the proposed Sunrise Wind energy project. Located approximately 16.4 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, the project is estimated to provide clean, renewable energy to more than 320,000 homes with its 924-megawatt capacity.

Under the Biden Administration, the Department of the Interior has approved six commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects, marking significant progress in the sector. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has also conducted four offshore wind lease auctions, generating nearly $5.5 billion in high bids.

The auctions include a record-breaking sale off the coasts of New York and New Jersey, as well as the first-ever sales off the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts. The Department of the Interior continues to explore additional opportunities for offshore wind energy development across the Gulf of Maine, offshore Oregon, and the U.S. Central Atlantic coast.

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