Offshore wind boosted as Biden, East Coast governors team up

The partnership is the Biden administration’s latest attempt to offer Americans cleaner, cheaper air and more jobs.

PENNSYLVANIA, U.S. — The White House is launching 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.

At a meeting at the White House on Thursday, officials in the Biden administration will meet with governors and union leaders to announce commitments to expand key parts of the offshore industry, including manufacturing plants, ports and workforce education and training.

The partnership includes governors from both parties from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Working with states and the private sector, the White House said it will “bring clean and cheap energy to Americans, create high-paying jobs, and invest billions in new American energy supply chains,” including wind turbine construction, shipbuilding and maintenance.

Biden has set a goal of providing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes, support 77,000 jobs and spur $12 billion a year in private investment in offshore wind power. Offshore wind is a key component in the Democratic President’s plan to make the country’s power grid carbon-free by 2035.

The Biden administration has approved two major wind projects, Vineyard Wind in Massachusetts and South Fork Wind off New York and Rhode Island. Both are under construction with union work. The Home Office has begun examining another 10 offshore projects that, if approved, would produce 22 gigawatts of clean energy.

Danish wind developer Orsted last month signed a project labor agreement with a national union representing 3 million people in the construction industry to build the company’s US offshore wind farms with an American union workforce. Orsted currently has six offshore projects in five states.

A national contract signed with the North American building unions applies to contractors working on this and future projects, with no termination date of the project employment contract. It sets the conditions for union workers to build offshore wind farms, with aims to ensure a diverse workforce. It includes provisions for training to ensure they can build the complex infrastructure that costs billions of dollars.

“We recognize that states are big players here,” said David Hayes, a White House climate adviser. With a formal partnership, the Biden administration “can work with governors on future policy and help ensure there is an American-made supply chain for this brand-new industry,” Hayes said in an interview Wednesday.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement that he and other East Coast governors “are united with our regional and federal partners not just geographically, but through a shared commitment to clean and affordable energy, economic opportunity and a future.” , in which all community members are protected from the worsening effects of climate change.”

New Jersey’s status as a “critical supply chain hub puts us in a unique position to cultivate the burgeoning domestic clean energy industry while striving to meet our (greenhouse gas) reduction goals,” the Democratic governor said.

The federal-state collaboration comes as the Biden administration announced a plan to hold up to seven offshore wind auctions by 2025, including one that took place off North Carolina last month and earlier this year in a coastal area called the New York Bight . Additional sales are expected in the Gulf of Maine, Central Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, as well as offshore California and Oregon.

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