New Actions to Expand U.S. Offshore Wind Energy

New Actions to Expand U.S. Offshore Wind Energy
iStock photo/Bennian

The Biden-Harris Administration is launching coordinated actions to develop new floating offshore wind platforms, an emerging clean energy technology that will help the United States lead on offshore wind. In tandem with President Biden’s economic and clean energy agenda, these actions will create good-paying jobs, lower energy costs for families, and strengthen U.S. energy security. Since taking office, President Biden’s vision and leadership has jumpstarted the American offshore wind industry and made America a magnet for clean energy investments. The President set a bold goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes with clean energy, support 77,000 jobs, and spur private investment up and down the supply chain.

Conventional offshore wind turbines can be secured directly to the sea floor in shallow waters near the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. However, deep-water areas that require floating platforms are home to two-thirds of America’s offshore wind energy potential, including along the West Coast and in the Gulf of Maine. The Administration’s new actions will capture this vast potential to power millions of homes and businesses, grow new manufacturing and maritime industries at home, and tackle the climate crisis.

Today’s actions will position the U.S. to lead the world on floating offshore wind technology. Globally, only 0.1 GW of floating offshore wind has been deployed to date, compared with over 50 GW of fixed-bottom offshore wind. America will seize this opportunity to be a frontrunner on floating offshore wind technologies, as part of President Biden’s plan for a clean energy economy built by American workers.

Today, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland are joining state officials to announce:

  • New Floating Offshore Wind ShotTM to Lower Costs by 70 Percent: Through the Energy EarthshotTM program, the Administration will create a new Floating Offshore Wind Shot to accelerate breakthroughs across engineering, manufacturing, and other innovation areas. The Floating Offshore Wind Shot will aim to reduce the costs of floating technologies by more than 70% by 2035, to $45 per megawatt-hour.
  • New Goal to Reach 15 GW by 2035: The Administration will advance lease areas in deep waters in order to deploy 15 GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2035—building on the President’s existing goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030, which will be largely met using fixed-bottom technology.
  • Research & Development Investments: To support these goals, this week the Administration launched a new prize competition for floating offshore wind platform technologies; initiatives funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to develop modeling tools for project design and to analyze port needs; and other funding for research, development, and demonstration efforts.

These new goals, initiatives, and investments focus on floating technologies and build on the Administration’s all-of-government approach to developing offshore wind while advancing environmental justice, protecting biodiversity, and promoting ocean co-use. Through the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden secured clean energy tax credits that will further accelerate this new American industry and a thriving domestic supply chain, with support for Made in America wind turbine blades, fixed-bottom and floating platforms, installation vessels, and more.

New Floating Offshore Wind Energy Earthshot

Secretaries Granholm and Haaland announced the Floating Offshore Wind ShotTM, a new initiative to grow clean energy capacity and drive U.S. leadership in floating offshore wind design, development, and manufacturing. The Floating Offshore Wind Shot is an initiative led by the Departments of Energy (DOE), Interior (DOI), Commerce, and Transportation. DOE and the National Science Foundation will also collaborate on research and workforce development in support of the Floating Offshore Wind Shot.

The Floating Offshore Wind Shot includes an ambitious goal to reduce the cost of floating offshore wind energy by more than 70%, to $45 per megawatt-hour by 2035. Achieving this cost target will require focused research, development, and demonstration to catalyze continued cost reductions, with a focus on manufacturing, engineering, and continued increases of offshore wind turbine capacity. Agencies will also continue collaborating to develop the robust domestic supply chain and transmission infrastructure needed to accelerate floating as well as fixed-bottom offshore wind.

The Floating Offshore Wind Shot will promote ocean co-use, protect biodiversity, and advance environmental justice—including by making sure the benefits of offshore wind deployment reach underserved communities, in support of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative. This new target is part of DOE’s Energy EarthshotsTM initiative to tackle key remaining technical challenges to reaching U.S. climate goals. In addition to harnessing untapped potential for generating clean electricity, floating offshore wind will also support economy-wide decarbonization, including by using floating offshore wind for co-generation of clean fuels and energy storage.

New Floating Offshore Wind Deployment Goal

DOI also announced a new goal to deploy 15 GW of installed floating offshore wind capacity by 2035—enough clean energy to power over five million American homes. This builds on the Administration’s goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will advance lease areas in deep waters for floating technology, starting with a lease auction off the coast of California by the end of 2022. Achieving this ambitious target will spur billions of dollars of economic opportunities and avoid an estimated 26 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually.

Bringing floating offshore wind technology to scale will unlock new opportunities for offshore wind power off the coasts of California and Oregon, in the Gulf of Maine, and beyond. Tapping into these resources will expand clean American energy supplies and contribute significantly to achieving climate goals set by the President and Governors across the country. States, Tribes, coastal communities, and ocean users will continue to play a key role throughout the process to ensure that in meeting our climate goals, we create good-paying union jobs and support economic opportunities in local and underserved communities.

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT INVESTMENTS

To support these ambitious new goals on floating offshore wind, DOE announced nearly $50 million—including support from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—for research, development, and demonstration funding:

  • Floating Offshore Wind Readiness Prize: This week, DOE announced a $6.85 million prize competition that challenges competitors to optimize floating platform technologies and work to get them ready for wide-scale domestic manufacturing and commercialization.
  • Floating Offshore Wind Array Design Project: DOE announced a $3 million project funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to develop a set of modeling tools to help industry and researchers design commercial-scale floating offshore wind farm arrays in U.S. waters, including their anchors, mooring lines, and subsea power cables.
  • West Coast Ports Analysis: DOE announced a nearly $1 million project funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to reduce key infrastructure challenges by outlining a network of West Coast ports and upgrades needed to deploy commercial-scale floating offshore wind.
  • West Coast Transmission Analysis: DOE announced an analysis to review existing transmission studies and identify research gaps related to offshore wind integration in California, Oregon, and Washington. This work will help inform future analysis efforts that will aid in transmission planning and buildout.
  • Atlantis II: DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) intends to announce $31 million in funding through phase two of its Aerodynamic Turbines, Lighter and Afloat, with Nautical Technologies and Integrated Servo-control (ATLANTIS) program. The ATLANTIS program focuses on novel forms of systems engineering for floating offshore wind systems to drive down costs. This second phase of the ATLANTIS program will focus on experimental testing in ocean, lake, and tank and tunnel environments to further develop new technology for floating offshore wind turbines.
  • Environmental Research Award: DOE and BOEM announced a $1.6 million project to support coexistence of floating offshore wind with bats on the West Coast of the United States.
  • Ocean Co-Use and Transmission Research Awards: The National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium, a partnership established with funding from DOE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, announced five projects totaling $3.5 million to facilitate ocean area coexistence with marine mammals and fishing and to support offshore wind transmission for both fixed-bottom and floating technologies.
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