WASHINGTON – The Biden government announced on Friday that it will begin the formal process of selling leases to develop offshore wind farms in shallow water between Long Island and New Jersey, as part of the effort to convert the country to renewable energy. link.
The proposed sale, the first by the Biden government, includes eight rental areas in the New York Bight, a triangular area in the Atlantic Ocean between Cape May in New Jersey and Montauk Point on the eastern tip of Long Island. Administration officials estimate that wind turbines there could produce more than seven gigawatts of electricity – enough to power more than 2.6 million homes.
The move is part of the Biden government’s efforts to get the country’s offshore wind sector up and running. Last month, it approved the country’s first offshore wind farm on a commercial scale off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, saying it would open the California coast to wind farms. The government said earlier this week that it was investigating whether wind farms should be brought to the Gulf of Mexico. President Biden has set himself the goal of generating 30,000 megawatts of electricity from the wind from the sea nationwide by 2030.
This contrasts sharply with former President Donald J. Trump, who shut down wind turbines and claims they destroyed property values, caused cancer and killed birds. His administration has favored the development of fossil fuels and disputes the scientific consensus that the emissions caused by the burning of oil, gas and coal are driving climate change. Mr. Trump started his administration by presenting 73 million hectares in coastal waters of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida for oil and gas exploration and ended it by selling oil and gas drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The Biden administration suspended drilling leases in the North Pole refuge last week.
“Climate change poses an existential threat, not only to our environment but also to our health, our communities and our economic well-being,” Interior Minister Deb Haaland said in a statement. She calls the development of offshore wind and other renewable energy sources an important piece to address this reality. ‘
The Office of Ocean Energy Management of Interior, which oversees overseas activities, named the New York Bight in March as a “priority area for offshore winds,” a first step before issuing new leases to wind developers. It would take place in 2019, but the Trump administration has not met the deadline.
A 2020 study by Wood Mackenzie, an international energy consulting firm, found that offshore wind development in the New York Bight would support 32,200 jobs and $ 3.3 billion in wages annually.
The hire purchase “not only opens a door for investment in New York, but will also support jobs and businesses in the US,” said Erik Milito, president of the National Ocean Industries Association, which represents oil, gas and wind producers in representing abroad, said.
However, the fishing industry says that the wind farms clash with the main areas where scallops, mussels and other seafood are caught, and that the federal government has ignored its concerns.
‘Fishermen are really not included as co-planners or trusted participants in wind planning abroad. Everything is really one-sided, ”says Annie Hawkins, executive director of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, which works for the fishing industry.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management proposes several provisions as part of the hire purchase – including a provision that requires labor agreements.
The new rules require businesses that win rental awards to ‘do everything’ to enter into a project labor agreement that covers construction in the rental area. There is also a proposed requirement that companies ‘create mechanisms to provide benefits to underserved communities’, as well as better communication with fishing communities and others.
The Department of Home Affairs will hold a 60-day comment period for public feedback on the hire purchase and the proposed new requirements before issuing a final notice announcing the date of the hire purchase.
Offshore winds have been flourishing for more than a decade in Europe, where thousands of turbines now point to the coast. Technology has slowed down in the United States, which currently has only two small wind farms near Rhode Island and Virginia.
But wind power is set to develop rapidly along the East Coast, with recent commitments from Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia to buy more than 25,000 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2035, according to the American Clean Power Association.