The Biden administration on March 29 announced a 30-GW U.S. offshore wind energy construction target by 2030, with new federal ocean tract leasing set for late this year or in early 2022 in the New York Bight area between Long Island, N.Y., and coastal New Jersey.

Meeting the 30-GW target “will trigger more than $12 billion per year in capital investment in projects on both U.S. coasts,” said a White House announcement.

New York has a target of 9,000 MW of offshore wind and New Jersey has set a 7,500-MW goal, both by 2035.

The U.S. Interior Dept.'s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), along with state and local agencies, identified nearly 800,000 acres of “wind energy areas” in the shallow water stretch that appear most suitable for development while considering other ocean users, said the White House statement. It said the area can support up to 25,000 development and construction jobs from 2022 to 2030 and up to 4,000 O&M jobs annually.

Areas of highest conflict were removed from consideration. An environmental assessment will begin immediately. 

BOEM also said it will immediately begin preparing an environmental impact statement for Ocean Wind, a proposed 1,100-MW offshore wind project off the coast of Atlantic City, N.J., the state's first and the third U.S. commercial scale proposal to receive the review. Those for the 800-MW Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts and the South Fork project off the coast of Rhode Island are underway.

According to BOEM, environmental review of up to 10 additional projects will begin later this year. Interior Secretary Debra Haaland said assessments of  construction and operations plans of at least 16 projects will begin by 2025.

Meeting the 2030 target will require more than $500 million to upgrade ports, as well as added funding to build one or two new U.S. factories for each major wind farm component, including turbine nacelles, blades, towers, foundations and subsea cables; and construction of four to six specialized turbine installation vessels in U.S. shipyards, costing between $250 million and $500 million each.

The administration’s long-range target requires construction of wind farms to produce 110 GW by 2050.

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation said it is making available $230 million for port and intermodal infrastructure related projects such as storage areas, laydown areas and docking of wind energy vessels to load and move items to offshore wind farms.

The U.S. Energy Dept. is making available $3 billion in debt capital, through loan programs, to support offshore wind projects, including transmission systems to link to land-based power grids.

The White House Roundtable announced the offshore wind initiatives, with its members, including White House Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Haaland. The group also includes members of the offshore wind development industry and labor groups.

According to Granholm, DOE labs “crunched the numbers to identify our 2030 target, taking care to strike the right balance between ambition and feasibility.” She said the agency will “partner with developers, manufacturers, labor and states to make sure we’re all doing what’s necessary to hit these goals—and maybe even surpass them.”

Granholm emphasized that the collaboration “includes transmission, where a coordinated approach will be critical to the success of these projects. We’re going to be applying our technical expertise to map out solutions to the transmission challenge in the days to come.”

Noting “no direction, no consistency” in federal offshore wind policy in the prior administration, Granholm said “it is a new day under the Biden administration.”

This is the level of agency cooperation that is required to kickstart the burgeoning U.S. industry into high gear, said Liz Burdock, president and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, in a statement.