Wind power figures prominently in efforts to combat climate change. Within the industry, offshore wind is emerging as a vast untapped resource.
Earlier this year, the Biden Administration announced a comprehensive plan to address climate change through the various powers of the federal government. Among other things, the plan calls on the secretary of the interior to take steps to increase renewable energy on public lands and in offshore waters.
The most promising renewable resource in offshore waters is wind. The Department of the Interior (DOI) is aggressively pursuing that resource. Earlier this month, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland outlined a path to increase offshore wind power. The plan targets potential leases in seven areas with outstanding potential for generation. The leasing is expected to create 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity over the next decade.
The plan, which the Secretary announced during a speech at the American Clean Power Association’s Offshore Windpower Conference and Exhibition in Boston, aims to lay the groundwork for lease sales in these seven coastal regions, which collectively encircle the continental United States. They include the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, the Central Atlantic, Carolina Long Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, Northern and Central California and Oregon.
To facilitate these lease sales and meet the Administration’s goals, the DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is taking specific steps. It is streamlining the lease sale process by working to develop clear goals and guidelines and avoid conflicts with other stakeholders to build confidence in the pipeline of offshore wind development.
Lease sales in each of the seven offshore areas are in different stages of development. The New York Bight and Carolina Long Bay sites are ahead of the pack—both already have been designated as wind site areas and have completed the planning and analysis phase. Lease sales are expected there sometime early next year.
All lease sales are expected to be completed by 2025, with deployment of the 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030.