President Biden Reveals Offshore Wind Plans for Gulf of Mexico
President Biden today revealed big plans to expand domestic offshore wind energy production, including announcing new details on available acreage for offshore wind development in the Gulf of Mexico.
President Biden made the announcement during a speach announcing executive actions related to climate change. He spoke at a former coal-fired power plant in Brayton Point in Somerset, Massachusetts that will host a cable manufacturing facility for the nation’s first full-scale offshore wind farm, called Vineyard Wind.
According to a White House Fact Sheet, Department of the Interior will propose the first Wind Energy Areas in the Gulf of Mexico, covering 700,000 acres in two areas off the coast of Galveston, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana. President Biden is also directing the Secretary of the Interior to advance wind energy development in waters off the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida’s Gulf Coast, where offshore energy development (including wind) hat banned under a Trump Adminstration policy following a spat with states related to offshore drilling. The Fact Sheet said these actions should help to “[alleviate] uncertainty cast by the prior Administration.”
The latest actions follow the President’s launch of a new Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership that brought together Governors to deliver more clean, affordable energy and new jobs.
Offshore wind has been a key component of President Biden’s strategy for combatting climate change and transition the U.S. to renewable energy. The Biden Administration has set a target of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, even as the nation’s current trajectory falls well short of that goal.
To increase wind energy development, the Biden Administration is planning to to hold seven offshore wind lease sales by 2025, including the two that have taken place already this year—including the record-setting New York Bight sale and one off the coast of North and South Carolina. A third is proposed for California waters later this year, while others are also planned for Oregon, the Central Atlantic, Gulf of Maine, and the Gulf of Mexico.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Maritime Administration (MARAD) has also designated offshore wind vessels as “Vessels of National Interest”, a designation meant to catalyze the construction of much-needed offshore wind installation vessels at U.S. shipyards and prioritizes project applications for review and funding through the Title XI Federal Ship Financing Program (Title XI).
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