Late last month, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm along with the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce announced they have set a national goal to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030.
According to a press release from the US Department of Energy, this move will support approximately 77,000 jobs in industry and surrounding communities, generate electricity to power over 10 million American homes, and cut 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Soon after taking office, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the United States to address the climate crisis and, in doing so, create jobs by accelerating the deployment of renewable energy on public lands and waters.
“This offshore wind goal is proof of our commitment to using American ingenuity and might to invest in our nation, advance our own energy security, and combat the climate crisis,” said Secretary Granholm. “DOE is going to marshal every resource we have to get as many American companies, using as many sheets of American steel, employing as many American workers as possible in offshore wind energy—to drive economic growth from coast to coast.”
The Department of Energy says the goal will spur $12 billion in capital investment annually, leading to the construction of up to 10 new manufacturing plants for offshore wind turbine components, new ships to install offshore wind turbines, and up to $500 million in port upgrades.
The agency predicts over 44,000 offshore wind workers and nearly 33,000 additional jobs in community will be supported by offshore wind activity. Also, it is expected to unlock a pathway to deploy 110 GW or more of offshore wind by 2050, supporting 135,000 total jobs, including 77,000 in offshore wind and 58,000 induced in communities with offshore wind activity.
To reach this new goal, DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) released a fact sheet to facilitate access for up to $3 billion in funding through LPO’s Title 17 Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program. LPO says it is ready to partner with offshore wind and offshore transmission developers, suppliers, and other financing partners to scale the US offshore industry and support good-paying jobs.
DOE also announced $8 million for 15 new offshore wind research and development projects through the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium. The selections include projects to develop innovative support structures, support US-based supply chains needed for wind turbine production, advance electrical systems innovation, and present solutions for impacts on wildlife and radar.
In 2018, DOE established the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium to address research priorities for offshore wind as defined in the National Offshore Wind Strategy, which was developed jointly by DOE and Department of the Interior (DOI).
DOE selected the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to administer the consortium, with DOE and NYSERDA each providing $20.5 million to fund research projects that lower the costs of U.S. offshore wind. State agencies in Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia have since joined the consortium, resulting in a total investment of around $47 million.
The full list of projects and the technical challenge areas they aim to address can be found on the Wind Energy Technologies Office website.
To help protect coastal communities, DOE and the Department of Commerce jointly announced a new partnership through the Northeast Sea Grant program that will fund $1.25 million in research into the impacts of ocean-based renewable energy—such as offshore wind, wave, current, and tidal energy—on the fishing industry and Northeastern coastal communities.
As part of this venture, DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and Water Power Technologies Office, NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, and the Northeast Sea Grant Consortium will collectively tap into local expertise to better understand how to align ocean renewable energy deployment and technology development with community values.
The program has released a co-funded Request for Proposals for social science and technology research that explores the impacts ocean renewable energy will have on community resilience and economies.