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White House Launches Offshore Wind Partnership with East Coast States and Designates Offshore Wind Vessels as ‘Vessels of National Interest’

Mike Schuler
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June 23, 2022

The Biden Administration has teamed up with eleven East Coast governors to launch a new Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership aimed at accelerating the growing offshore wind industry.

The partnership will seek to “support efforts to provide Americans with cleaner and cheaper energy, create good-paying jobs, and make historic investments in new American energy supply chains, manufacturing, shipbuilding, and servicing,” according to a White House statement.

As a first step, the White House and governors are announcing commitments to collaborate on expanding key elements of the offshore wind supply chain, from manufacturing facilities to port capabilities to workforce development. The Administration has also announced steps to advance a “National Offshore Wind Supply Chain Roadmap” and designating offshore wind vessels as “Vessels of National Interest” to facilitate more offshore wind construction.

Constructing offshore wind projects requires specialized installation vessels and studies show that in U.S. and globally there is lack sufficient vessel capacity to meet industry demand as offshore wind development accelerates. With that in mind, the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) is announcing the designation of offshore wind vessels as “Vessels of National Interest,” which opens doors for federal support through the Federal Ship Financing Program and gives projects priority for review and funding.

“The program assists the domestic shipbuilding industry, providing support for U.S. shipyards to modernize their facilities, to build and retrofit vessels, and to assist U.S shipowners to cost-effectively obtain domestically produced new vessels,” according to a White House fact sheet.

The Biden Administration has set a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030 and taken steps to achieving that goal, including planning seven offshore wind leases by 2025—two of which have already taken place—and approved the nation’s first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects.

The new Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership is a joint effort by the White House National Climate Advisor, the Secretaries of the Interior, Energy, Commerce, and Transportation, and the Governors of several East Coast states that are supportive of offshore wind development—including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Going forward, the partnership will “provide a forum for new initiatives and in coordination with existing efforts to address ocean co-use, transmission needs and other offshore wind priorities that may benefit from additional federal, state, and regional coordination” says the White House.

The partnership is expected to expand to include Governors from the West Coast and the Gulf of Mexico as offshore wind energy projects develop in those regions.

During a White House event held Thursday, Administration officials and Governors will endorse a set of commitments to solidify and expand the domestic manufacturing capacity, logistics networks, and workforce development needed for a U.S. offshore wind supply chain.

Renewables advocate American Clean Power issued the following statement on the partnership:

“This new partnership will help propel the growing offshore wind industry in the United States by helping to create good-paying American jobs, expanding access to clean and affordable energy to more homes and creating predictability for the industry. The development of offshore wind is critical to meeting our nation’s climate targets and building our clean energy economy, and we support the administration’s initiative to bring important stakeholders to the table to invest in the infrastructure and domestic supply chain the industry needs. Clear and predictable permitting for offshore wind is essential to recognizing its potential and there is still work to do. We look forward to working with the administration as this partnership continues its important work to support this critical industry and our clean energy transition.”

The BlueGreen Alliance issued the following statement:

“The offshore wind industry is taking off along our shores, providing the opportunity to create high-quality, union jobs building, operating, and maintaining a growing number of offshore wind farms. To fully seize on the economic and climate opportunities inherent in this sector, we need to invest in building crucial supply chains. We welcome this announcement and will continue to work with the administration and within the states to ensure that our workers and communities reap the maximum benefits from this growing industry.”

More on these commitments can be found on WhiteHouse.gov.

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