Energy & Environment

Biden administration inks offshore wind agreement with California

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The Biden administration has reached an agreement with California seeking to advance wind energy development off the state’s northern and central coasts.

The Interior Department said in a statement that initial areas of development could bring up to 4.6 gigawatts of energy to the grid, enough to power 1.6 million homes.

The federal government aims to sell wind energy leases in mid-2022, the department said.

“Today’s announcement reflects months of active engagement and dedication between partners who are committed to advancing a clean energy future,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in a statement.

“The offshore wind industry has the potential to create tens of thousands of good-paying union jobs across the nation, while combating the negative effects of climate change,” she added.

California and the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold a task force meeting next month to talk about areas that have been identified as potential sites where wind energy can be generated.

One place they have identified is nearly 399 square miles off California’s central coast, northwest of Morro Bay. The press release said this area alone can be responsible for three gigawatts of offshore wind.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) told reporters that Morro Bay could accommodate 380 turbines. 

After next month’s meeting, the sites will be finalized and then undergo environmental reviews. The processes for the coasts will be merged for one lease sale.

Newsom said California expects an “enormous amount of interest” from industry and hopes to “accelerate the environmental review on the state’s end.”

The Defense Department was also part of the agreement, and the department’s undersecretary for policy, Colin Kahl, told reporters that the department has activities such as training along the state’s central and southern coasts.

Kahl said the department was proud to partner with the state and Interior to identify opportunities for offshore wind “compatible with our operational needs”

As part of the transition to clean energy, the Biden administration has set the goal of being able to generate 30 gigawatts of energy from offshore wind by 2030.

Earlier this month, the administration approved a major offshore wind farm that it described as the country’s first such large-scale project. 

Updated at 2:43 p.m.

Tags biden administration California Deb Haaland Energy Gavin Newsom offshore Wind power

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