Biden Offshore Wind Plan: Who Supports Ambition in Offshore Wind?

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Courtesy of Union Of Concerned Scientists.
By John Rogers, Senior energy analyst

The Biden administration’s bold, broad plan for offshore wind released last month attracted a lot of attention — and boatloads of support. Because when it comes to being ambitious on offshore wind, there’s a lot that wind companies, labor unions, environmental and community groups, academics, and others agree on.

A statement of support in the wake of the administration’s offshore wind announcement garnered signatures from more than 100 labor groups and businesses (including the offshore wind developers holding existing offshore wind area leases), environmental and environmental justice groups, clean energy advocates, and academic institutions and efforts. It includes groups operating at the local, state, and national levels.

That’s a lot of perspectives. And, as it turns out, there’s plenty we agree on, including:

  • Offshore wind is worth investing in as a nation. Offshore wind can be a powerful force for job creation, for public health improvements through reductions in fossil fuel power generation, and for addressing the climate crisis.
  • We need ambition. The times call for “urgency, seriousness, and determination.” And 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030 seems like a solid foot forward in a sector that other parts of the world have been successfully embracing for years.
  • Offshore wind needs to be “done right.” For the US to realize the full benefits of this push, we need to be intentional and thoughtful in how we roll it out. So not just jobs, but “quality, family-sustaining” jobs. And not just development, but offshore wind development “in a manner that protects coastal and marine ecosystem and advances social and racial equity and environmental justice.” Details matter.

We need a “comprehensive, responsible approach.” And many of us think the administration’s new push is a great next step.

Here is the joint statement (and the list of signers is in the online version):

“As renewable energy developers, workers of all stripes, front-line community members, and environmental advocates, we applaud President Biden’s early, bold commitments to advance 30 gigawatts (GW) of responsible offshore wind development by 2030. The Administration-wide approach to jumpstart American offshore wind power — including tangible next steps on leasing, permitting, port investments, loan guarantees, research funding, and more — offers a solid game plan for confronting the climate crisis and ensuring we Build Back Better.

“We face unprecedented and intersecting environmental, public health, and economic crises that exacerbate racial and social injustices — presenting an existential threat to our communities, our nation, and our world. Offshore wind is uniquely positioned to help address these challenges. The Administration’s sweeping, whole-government approach outlined this week signals the urgency, seriousness, and determination that is needed to face these threats head on.

“We are united in our belief that done right, offshore wind power will create thousands of quality, family-sustaining jobs in manufacturing, construction, operations, and maintenance, and in the development of port facilities and associated infrastructure. We agree that offshore wind power can and must be developed in a manner that protects coastal and marine ecosystems and advances social and racial equity and environmental justice.

Together, we stand ready to work with the Biden Administration to help fulfill today’s offshore wind commitments with a comprehensive, responsible approach to scaling up this critical new energy source for America.”

Standing together, ready to work.

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