Last week, the Biden Administration announced plans to develop seven major offshore wind farms as part of its goal of achieving at least 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power by 2030. This would generate enough electricity to power 10 million homes, and create nearly 80,000 jobs.
The plans (PDF) anticipate holding lease sales by 2025 off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as well as in the Gulf of Mexico. “The Interior Department is laying out an ambitious road map as we advance the administration’s plans to confront climate change, create good-paying jobs and accelerate the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “We have big goals to achieve a clean energy economy and Interior is meeting the moment.”
Projects off the Carolinas’ coasts will play a major part in this picture. The already-approved Kitty Hawk project is under development now. At full buildout, it will produce enough electricity to power about 700,000 homes.
Offshore wind has the strong support of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, whose Executive Order 218 commits the state to produce 2.8 GW of wind power by 2030, and 8 GW by 2040. The latter goal would power more than 2.3 million homes, about 25% of the state’s projected energy consumption.
To meet those goals, we recently joined nine other organizations in launching Offshore Wind for North Carolina, a coalition dedicated to making our state a leader in the offshore wind supply chain and energy generation.
Efforts are now underway to add a second major wind project off the Carolinas, this one in the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area straddling the North Carolina-South Carolina coastal region. Katharine Kollins, President of the Southeastern Wind Coalition, told the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that the additional leasing is urgent, citing the “need to expand offshore wind’s benefit to coasts outside of the Northeast, as the Southeast and the Carolinas stand ready to manufacture, construct, and operate the next wave of offshore wind projects that will provide family-sustaining wages to our communities and carbon-free energy to our region.”
The Biden Administration’s executive actions are welcome change from the previous administration which banned offshore wind leasing, but we need Congress to supercharge climate action with the Build Back Better Act. Tell Congress to pass it now!