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Biden Approved Country’s First Offshore Wind Farm

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration approved the country’s first major Offshore Wind Farm this month, it billed the move as the start of a new clean energy industry that by the end of the decade will create over 75,000 U.S. jobs. Offshore wind project developers plan to ship massive blades, towers, and other components for at least the initial wave of U.S. projects from factories in France, Spain, and elsewhere before potentially opening up manufacturing plants on U.S. shores, according to Reuters interviews with executives from three of the world’s leading wind turbine makers.

The suppliers need to see a deep pipeline of approved U.S. projects, along with a clear set of regulatory incentives like federal and state tax breaks. Before committing to siting and building new American factories, they say a process that could take years. Martin Gerhardt, head of offshore wind product management at Siemens Gamesa, the global offshore wind market leader in a comment typical of the group said that for the first project it is necessary to ship across the Atlantic.The administration has unveiled a goal to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power capacity in U.S. waters by 2030. The amount that exists in Europe’s two-decade-old industry, a plan that it estimates will create 77,000 U.S.-based jobs while combating global climate change. More than 2,000 turbines will be needed to meet the 30-GW target, according to Shashi Barla, an analyst at consultancy Wood Mackenzie. U.S.-based factories probably will not materialize until 2024 or 2025.

Barla said he expects the U.S. supply chain to develop rapidly and to make around 70% of major components for the industry by 2030. This month, Washington took a big step toward its goal of launching the offshore wind industry by approving the Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts, jointly owned by Avangrid Inc and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

This is the first major Offshore Wind Farm to get federal approval in the United States after more than a decade of stops and resumes. This is expected to produce enough electricity to power 400,000 homes in New England by 2023. According to the company officials, Vineyard Wind alone will create 3,600 U.S. jobs, though most of the project’s components will be manufactured in Europe due to the lack of an existing domestic supply chain.The Biden White House has said it is aware that suppliers need airtight commitments to make investments in local manufacturing, and points out the administration has pledged $3 billion in public financing for Offshore Wind Farm and transmission developers and component suppliers. It will also fund $230 million of port infrastructure projects to help encourage the industry.

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