WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday announced a plan to vastly expand the use of offshore wind power along the East Coast, aiming to tap a potentially huge new source of renewable energy that has so far struggled to gain a foothold in the United States.
The plan sets a goal of deploying 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind turbines in coastal waters nationwide by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes. To help meet that target, the administration said it would accelerate permitting of projects off the Atlantic Coast and prepare to open up waters near New York and New Jersey for development. The administration also plans to offer $3 billion in federal loan guarantees for offshore wind projects and invest in upgrading the nation’s ports to support wind construction.
The moves come as President Joe Biden prepares a roughly $3 trillion economic recovery package that will focus heavily on infrastructure to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and tackle climate change, an effort he has framed as a jobs initiative. Officials made a similar case Monday, saying offshore wind deployment would create 44,000 new jobs directly in the offshore wind sector, such as building and installing turbines, as well as 33,000 new indirect jobs.
“We have an enormous opportunity in front of us to not only address the threats of climate change, but use it as a chance to create millions of good-paying union jobs,” said Gina McCarthy, the White House national climate adviser.
As part of the announcement, the administration designated an area of shallow water between Long Island and the New Jersey coast as a priority offshore wind area, a first step before issuing new leases to wind developers. New York and New Jersey have committed to procuring a combined 16,500 megawatts of new offshore wind power by 2035 to help meet their targets for cutting global warming emissions.
The White House said Monday that the offshore wind plan would avoid 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Republicans said they were skeptical of Biden’s promise of “green jobs.” They have criticized his earlier moves to suspend new oil and gas leases and revoke permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, claiming those moves were responsible for killing jobs in their states.