Offshore winds strengthen as East Coast governors Biden team up

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House launches formal partnership with 11 East Coast governors to boost growth offshore wind industrya key element of President Joe Biden’s plan for climate change

At a White House meeting on Thursday, officials from the Biden administration will meet with governors and union leaders to announce commitments to expand key elements of the offshore industry, including manufacturing facilities, ports and workforce training and development. .

The partnership includes governors from both sides from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Working with states and the private sector, the White House said it will “provide Americans with cleaner and cheaper energy, create high-paying jobs and invest billions in new American energy supply chains,” including building wind turbinesshipbuilding and maintenance.

Biden has set a goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, enough to power 10 million households, support 77,000 jobs and drive $12 billion a year in private investment in offshore wind energy. Offshore wind power is a key part of the Democratic president’s plan to make the nation’s power grid carbon-free by 2035.

The Biden administration has approved two large-scale wind projects, Vineyard Wind in Massachusetts and South Fork Wind from New York and Rhode Island. Both are under construction with union work. The Department of the Interior has begun assessments of a further 10 offshore projects that, if approved, would produce 22 gigawatts of clean energy.

Danish wind developer Orsted signed a project employment contract last month with a national union representing 3 million people in the construction industry to build the company’s US offshore wind farms with a US union. Orsted currently has six offshore projects in five states.

A national agreement signed with the North American construction unions covers contractors working on this and future projects, with no end date on the project employment contract. It sets the conditions for unionized workers to build offshore wind farms, with objectives to ensure a diverse workforce. It includes training facilities to ensure they can build the complex infrastructure, which costs billions of dollars.

“We recognize that states are big players here,” said David Hayes, a White House climate adviser. With a formal partnership, the Biden administration can “work with governors on future policy and ensure there is a U.S. supply chain for this brand new industry,” Hayes said in an interview on Wednesday.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a statement that he and other East Coast governors “are united not only by geography with our regional and federal partners, but also by a shared commitment to clean and affordable energy, economic opportunity and a future where all community members are protected from the worsening effects of climate change.”

New Jersey’s status as “a critical supply chain hub uniquely positions us to cultivate the nascent domestic clean energy industry as we strive to meet our (greenhouse gas) reduction goals,” the Democratic governor said.

The federal-state cooperation comes as the Biden administration announced a plan to extend up to seven months offshore wind auctions by 2025, including one held last month near North Carolina and earlier this year in a coastal area known as the New York Bight. Other sales are expected in the Gulf of Maine, the central Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as offshore in California and Oregon.

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