The Departments of Interior, Energy and Commerce on March 29 announced a shared goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind in the U.S. by 2030.
At a White House forum, Interior announced the final Wind Energy Areas (WEA) in the New York Bight, an area of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast.
The goal of the Department’s area identification process is to identify the offshore locations that appear most suitable for wind energy development, taking into consideration coexistence with ocean users, Interior noted.
The WEAs are adjacent to the greater metropolitan Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has identified nearly 800,000 acres as WEAs in the New York Bight. The BOEM will now initiate an environmental review, with public input, on these areas in federal waters for potential offshore wind leasing.
In addition, Interior said it is initiating an environmental review of the third commercial scale offshore wind project by announcing a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for Ocean Wind LLC’s proposed project offshore New Jersey.
Ocean Wind has proposed an offshore wind project with a total capacity of 1,100 megawatts.
Interior previously announced environmental reviews for Vineyard Wind (Massachusetts) and South Fork (Rhode Island) and anticipates initiating the environmental reviews for up to ten additional projects later this year.
In related action, the Department of Energy announced $8 million for 15 new offshore wind research and development (R&D) projects through the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium.
The selections include projects to develop innovative support structures, support U.S.-based supply chains needed for wind turbine production, advance electrical systems innovation, and present solutions for impacts on wildlife and radar, DOE said.
DOE established the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium in 2018 to address research priorities for offshore wind as defined in the National Offshore Wind Strategy, which was developed jointly by DOE and the BOEM.
In addition, 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.
DOE said that LPO is ready to partner with offshore wind and offshore transmission developers, suppliers, and other financing partners to scale the U.S. offshore industry.
Meanwhile, 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 on the fishing industry and Northeastern coastal communities.