On March 29, 2021, the Biden Administration announced a series of "whole of government" initiatives to boost the U.S. offshore wind industry. Numerous commercial scale projects are currently at various points in the permitting process for installation in the U.S. northeast. The Administration recently green-lighted the first commercial scale project off the coast of Massachusetts when it approved the Construction Operations Plan of Vineyard Wind on March 8, 2021.
Although the announcement contains primarily U.S. Government goals, it also highlights a number of grant and funding opportunities:
- The Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced a new priority "Wind Energy Area" in the New York Bight-an area of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast with a proposed lease sale in late 2021 or early 2022.
- The Departments of Interior, Energy, and Commerce announced a shared goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. This will require approval by BOEM of 16 Construction Operations Plans and new opening of new lease areas.
- BOEM published in the Federal Register on March 30a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Ocean Wind, LLC in New Jersey putting it in line to become the United States' third commercial scale offshore wind project (the first two are Vineyard Wind and South Fork (Rhode Island)).
- Referenced the first wind turbine installation vessel being constructed in Texas for Dominion Energy and set as a goal the construction of between four and six such vessels in the United States. Currently, no such U.S.-flag vessels exist, and the first projects are all likely to be installed by foreign vessels.
- $230 million in grants for port authorities and other applicants for port and intermodal infrastructure-related projects (through the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration).
- Access to $3 billion in U.S. Government guarantee availability for the innovative projects in the offshore wind industry (through the DOE Loan Programs Office).
- The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, created by the DOE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, announced the award of $8 million to 15 offshore wind research and development projects that were selected through a competitive process.
The full White House Fact Sheet is available here.
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