WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The White House on Thursday launched a formal partnership with 11 East Coast governors to boost the growing offshore wind industry, a key element of President Joe Biden’s climate change plan.
Biden, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and other top administration officials met with governors, wind industry executives and labor leaders at the White House on Thursday. The session focused on ways to expand critical areas of the offshore industry, including manufacturing facilities, ports and workforce training and development.
“Together we are making strides. We are going to build a better America,” Biden said. “It’s not just about the future. It’s about the now.”
The partnership includes the governors of both sides of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Read more: Administration plans 7 offshore wind farms by 2025
Missing from the compact is Virginia, where Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has moved to withdraw the state from a regional carbon-limiting initiative to tackle climate change.
Spokesman Macaulay Porter said Youngkin supports the offshore wind industry, and his administration has participated in calls with the White House on the subject.
“The Commonwealth is already a leader in offshore wind, and the Youngkin administration has focused on a policy that promotes a worker’s right not to be required to join a labor union.
Youngkin is “fully committed to Virginia’s current offshore wind project” and will continue to support any future projects “that meet Virginia’s economic needs and protect ratepayers from high energy costs,” said Porter. he said.
Working with states and the private sector, the White House said it would “provide Americans with clean and affordable energy, create well-paying jobs and invest billions in new US energy supply chains,” including wind turbines, Includes shipbuilding and servicing.
Biden aims to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes, support 77,000 jobs and spur $12 billion per year in private investment in offshore wind. gives. Offshore wind is a key component in the Democratic presidential plan to make the country’s electric grid carbon-free by 2035.
The Biden administration has approved two large-scale wind projects, the Vineyard Wind in Massachusetts and the South Fork Wind from New York and Rhode Island. Both are under construction with Union Labor. The Interior Department has begun a review of another 10 offshore projects that, if approved, would generate 22 gigawatts of clean energy.
Danish wind developer rsted last month signed a project labor agreement with a national union representing 3 million people in the building trades to build the company’s US offshore wind farms, with a US union workforce. Orsted currently has six offshore projects in five states.
A national agreement signed with the building trades unions of North America covers those working on projects and future contractors with no end date on the project labor agreement. It sets out terms and conditions for union employees to build offshore wind farms, with the goal of ensuring a diverse workforce. It has provisions for training to ensure that they can build complex infrastructure that costs billions of dollars.
“We believe that states are huge players here,” said White House climate adviser David Hayes. With a formal partnership, the Biden administration can “work with governors on policies going forward and help ensure that there is an American-made supply chain for this brand-new industry,” Hayes said. .
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said he and other East Coast governors are “united with our regional and federal partners not only by geography but by a shared commitment to clean and affordable energy, economic opportunity and a future that in which all community members are protected from the deteriorating effects of climate change.”
The federal-state collaboration comes as the Biden administration has announced plans to hold seven offshore wind auctions by 2025, including one held last month off North Carolina and the coastal area known as the New York Bight earlier this year. is included. Other sales are expected in the Gulf of Maine, the mid-Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as offshore in California and Oregon.
Environmental and clean energy groups commended the federal-state collaboration.
“Today, there are just seven offshore wind turbines in the United States, and we need much more to be done responsibly to meet our clean energy goals,” said Diane Hoskins, campaign director for conservation group Oceana. She called for “strong safeguards to avoid, mitigate and mitigate the effects of offshore wind to marine life”.
Heather Zeichl, CEO of the American Clean Power Association, an industry group, said wind power developers support the federal-state initiative. “Clear and predictable permission for offshore wind is essential to recognize its potential, and there is still work to be done,” Ziichl said.
Associated Press writers Amer Madani in Washington and Sarah Rankin in Richmond, VA contributed to this story.