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Offshore wind boosted as Biden and East Coast governors team up


FILE – Deepwater Wind turbines sit in the water off Block Island, RI, August 23, 2019. The White House is launching an official partnership with 12 East Coast governors to boost the growing offshore wind industry . It’s a key part of President Joe Biden’s plan for climate change. (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi, File)


The White House is launching a formal partnership with 11 East Coast governors to spur the growth of the offshore wind industry, a key part of President Joe Biden’s climate change plan.

Biden and other senior administration officials will meet with governors and labor leaders Thursday at the White House to announce commitments to develop important segments of the offshore industry, including manufacturing facilities, ports and training. and workforce development.

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

Virginia is absent from the pact, where Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin decided to withdraw the state from a regional carbon-limiting initiative intended to combat climate change. A spokesperson for Youngkin had no immediate comment on the new offshore wind group.

Working with states and the private sector, the White House said it would “bring Americans cleaner, cheaper energy, create well-paying jobs, and invest billions in new American energy supply chains.” including wind turbine construction, shipbuilding and maintenance. .

Biden has set a goal to deploy 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. Offshore wind is a key part of the Democratic president’s plan to make the country’s power grid carbon-free by 2035.

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

Danish wind developer Orsted last month signed a project work agreement with a national union representing 3 million people in the construction trades to build the company’s U.S. offshore wind farms with U.S. union labor . Orsted currently has six offshore projects in five states.

A national agreement signed with North America’s building trades unions covers contractors working on these and future projects, with no termination date on the project labor contract. It sets terms and conditions for unionized workers to build offshore wind farms, with goals to ensure a diverse workforce. It contains provisions for training to ensure they can build the complex infrastructure, which costs billions of dollars.

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

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

New Jersey’s status as a “critical supply chain hub uniquely positions us to cultivate the nation’s burgeoning clean energy industry as we strive to meet our reduction goals ( greenhouse gases),” 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 held last month off North Carolina and earlier this year in a coastal area known as New York Bight. Further sales are expected in the Gulf of Maine, Central Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, as well as off California and Oregon.

Environmental and clean energy groups have praised the collaboration between the federal government and the state.

“Offshore wind has the potential to be a game-changer in the US energy portfolio – reducing energy prices, creating jobs and replacing the fossil fuels that are causing climate change,” said Diane Hoskins, campaign manager for conservation group Oceana.

“Today there are only seven offshore wind turbines in the United States, and we are going to need many more, done responsibly, to meet our clean energy goals,” she said, calling for “strong safeguards for marine life”. avoid, minimize and mitigate the impacts of offshore wind.”

Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association, an industry group, said wind power developers support the federal states initiative.

“Clear and predictable permits for offshore wind are essential to recognize its potential, and there is still work to be done,” Zichal said.