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Biden Administration Set to Expand Wind Power

The Biden administration on Monday announced its plans to rapidly expand offshore wind farming along the East Coast and create thousands of jobs in the process.

(CN) — The Biden administration on Monday announced its plans to rapidly expand offshore wind farming along the East Coast and create thousands of jobs in the process.

The White House, along with leaders of the administration, announced the creation of new wind energy area in the New York Bight, a target of employing thousands of workers to deploy 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind in the U.S. by 2030, and the advancement of important permitting milestones for the Ocean Wind Offshore Wind Project in New Jersey.

The administration has a goal of deploying 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind in the U.S. by 2030, “while protecting biodiversity and promoting ocean co-use,” according to the White House's fact sheet on the plan.

"Meeting this target will trigger more than $12 billion per year in capital investment in projects on both U.S. coasts, create tens of thousands of good-paying, union jobs, with more than 44,000 workers employed in offshore wind by 2030 and nearly 33,000 additional jobs in communities supported by offshore wind activity," the White House fact sheet states. "It will also generate enough power to meet the demand of more than 10 million American homes for a year, and avoid 78 million metric tons of CO2 emissions."

The administration's plan to boost wind energy production also involves a new priority wind energy area designated by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in the New York Bight.

The Interior Department says wind farming in this area of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast could create 25,000 development and construction jobs in the next 10 years, as well as an additional 7,000 jobs in communities supported by the development and thousands of additional jobs annually. 

The next step for the project is for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to publish a proposed sale notice, followed by a formal public comment period, and a lease sale sometime in late 2021 or early 2022. 

The bureau also announced on Monday that it will begin to prepare an environmental impact statement for a project off the coast of New Jersey called Ocean Wind, which is slated to be the country's third commercial scale offshore wind project.

Critics, including members of the group Save Our Shoreline NJ, have expressed concern over the planned Ocean Wind project, arguing that offshore turbines could hurt the fishing and tourism industries, and ruin the ocean view. 

The project has a capacity of 1,100 megawatts, which the White House says is enough to power 500,000 homes across New Jersey. 

The Biden administration says it will fast-track permitting for wind projects, like this, off the Atlantic Coast and plans to provide $1 million in grants to study the impacts of wind projects on fisheries and communities. 

Additionally, the Energy Department plans to allocate $3 billion toward offshore wind growth through its loan guarantee program. 

"President Biden believes we have an enormous opportunity in front of us to not only address the threats of climate change, but use it as a chance to create millions of good-paying, union jobs that will fuel America's economic recovery," White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy said in a statement prior to the announcement. 

The White House says federal leadership, “in close coordination with states and in partnership with the private sector, unions and other key stakeholders,” is critical in order for the U.S. to “catalyze the deployment of offshore wind at scale.” McCarthy, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with leaders in those sectors on Monday to discuss the steps, according to the White House. 

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