Energy & Environment

Biden administration announces actions bolstering clean energy 

Wind turbines near water
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The Biden administration is announcing steps on Wednesday to boost clean energy — particularly through offshore wind, renewable energy on public lands and upgrades to the electric grid. 

Its latest moves come as the Biden administration seeks to advance clean energy deployment as a way to achieve its climate goals — and as legislation that would help deliver climate action faces uncertainty in Congress. 

On offshore wind, the administration announced on Wednesday that it will hold a lease sale in the New York Bight — off the coasts of New York and New Jersey. 

This lease sale could result in the generation of up to 7 gigawatts of clean energy, enough to power 2 million homes, according to a White House fact sheet. 

The sale will offer up six commercial areas for lease, which the administration says is the most ever offered, spanning 488,201 acres.

A senior administration official told reporters that for the the department will incorporate limitations preventing one company from bidding on multiple leases in order to make sure that there’s “broad” participation. 

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told reporters on a Wednesday press call that the department expects to hold up to six more offshore wind lease sales by 2025.
The sale that was announced on Wednesday will take place on Feb. 23. 

The administration also announced a new partnership with New York and New Jersey in which they will work together on improving regional supply chains and helping disadvantaged communities. 

On a press call on Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) called the Biden administration’s efforts a “breath of fresh air” compared to its predecessor.
“They slowed whatever progress we were making,” Murphy said of the Trump administration. “I wouldn’t necessarily say they stood in the way, but they did not put any … wind into our sails.”
The Biden administration will also seek to speed up the deployment of renewable energy on public lands through a memorandum of understanding under which several agencies agree to “prioritize” reviews for renewable energy projects on lands that are managed by the Interior and Agriculture departments.

This memorandum will establish interagency coordination teams that “facilitate” environmental and other reviews. 

It will additionally establish Renewable Energy Coordination Offices — authorized by a 2020 bipartisan energy bill — that will work with the Bureau of Land Management resources on renewable energy work. 

For the electric grid, the administration it will help finance transmission lines and other updates and convene with regional grid organizations, and other authorities like utilities and state regulatory commissions.

On Wednesday, the Energy Department published a notice outlining this “Building a Better Grid Initiative” saying that it will work to identify “critical” transmission needs and support the buildout of high-voltage facilities to meet them. 

In the fact sheet, the administration invoked climate change while discussing the actions, saying that they “showcase President Biden’s unprecedented coordination activating the entire government to fight climate change, produce good-paying, union jobs, and accelerate America’s clean energy economy.”

This story was updated at 11:20 a.m.

Tags Deb Haaland Joe Biden Phil Murphy

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