Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, calls for major investments in offshore wind farm construction!
The federal government on Friday unveiled its vision for wind farms off of nearly every U.S. coastline by 2050, in an effort to generate 86 gigawatts of electricity from offshore wind — enough zero-carbon power for more than 23 million homes.
The National Offshore Wind Strategy, part of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, calls for major investments in offshore wind farm construction now that North America’s first offshore wind farm has been completed off of Rhode Island and 11 areas of the Atlantic Coast have been leased for future wind development.The Obama administration has made offshore wind a major part of the U.S. strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement in an effort to keep global warming from exceeding 2°C (3.6°F).
Until now, Europe has led the world in building offshore wind farms, but the U.S. had not built any until this year. The Obama administration and the wind power industry see offshore wind as a huge untapped source of zero-carbon electricity, which, if fully developed, has the ability to generate twice the electricity the U.S. produced in 2015.
“Today’s collaborative strategic plan is part of a long-term commitment to support innovation that enables widespread offshore wind deployment and shows how offshore wind will benefit our country with new jobs, less pollution, and a more diversified electricity mix,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement.
The offshore wind strategy outlines dozens of ways the federal government plans to support the construction of offshore wind farms over the next five years. Among them are plans to improve data gathering on the meteorological and sea floor conditions that are ideal for locating a wind farm, improving wind turbine designs and building full-scale offshore wind farm demonstration projects.
The departments of Interior and Energy plan to support the development of wind energy design standards and safety guidelines, improve the way federal agencies work with each other to facilitate wind farm development, and improve the way federal agencies regulate and gather data about environmental conflicts.
The future of offshore wind development in the U.S. will be built upon the success of the Block Island Wind Farm, which was completed in August and is expected to begin generating electricity for New Englanders later this year. The project includes five wind turbines capable of generating 30 megawatts of electricity, which will be sold to the utility National Grid.
“The Block Island Wind farm serves as tangible proof that offshore wind is a viable source of energy for America’s future,” said Tracey Moriarty, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which oversees renewable and fossil fuels development in U.S. waters. “Many of the lessons learned from the Block Island project — e.g., facility design, fabrication and installation — will inform future projects to be developed on the Outer Continental Shelf.”