Vast Expansion of Offshore Wind Envisioned

October 14, 2021

New York Times:

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday a plan to develop large-scale wind farms along nearly the entire coastline of the United States, the first long-term strategy from the government to produce electricity from offshore turbines.

Speaking at a wind power industry conference in Boston, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said that her agency will begin to identify, demarcate and hope to eventually lease federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Maine and off the coasts of the Mid-Atlantic States, North Carolina and South Carolina, California and Oregon, to wind power developers by 2025.

The announcement came months after the Biden administration approved the nation’s first major commercial offshore wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and began reviewing a dozen other potential offshore wind projects along the East Coast. On the West Coast, the administration has approved opening up two areas off the shores of Central and Northern California for commercial wind power development.

Taken together, the actions represent the most forceful push ever by federal government to promote offshore wind development.

“The Interior Department is laying out an ambitious road map as we advance the administration’s plans to confront climate change, create good-paying jobs, and accelerate the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” said Ms. Haaland. “This timetable provides two crucial ingredients for success: increased certainty and transparency. Together, we will meet our clean energy goals while addressing the needs of other ocean users and potentially impacted communities.”

Mr. Biden has pledged to cut the nation’s fossil fuel emissions 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 by designing policies to promote the use of electric vehicles and clean energy such as wind and solar power. In particular, the administration has pledged to build 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind in the United States by 2030.

In Congress, Mr. Biden is pushing for passage of a major spending bill that includes a $150 billion program that would pay electric utilities to increase the amount of electricity they purchase from zero-carbon sources such as wind and solar, and penalize those that don’t.

Mr. Biden has also sought to unite his Cabinet in finding ways to promote renewable energy and cut the carbon dioxide that is warming the planet under what he has called an “all-of-government” approach to tackling climate. Experts in renewable energy policy said that the Interior Department’s move represents a major such step.

7 Responses to “Vast Expansion of Offshore Wind Envisioned”

  1. indy222 Says:

    What an unmitigated tragedy, if this comes to be. Have we no soul? No heart? Coastal ecosystems are the most prolific and fundamental to the oceans, and the most fragile. A few nuclear power plants with with vanishingly tiny amounts of nuclear waste – molten salt thorium breeders – could save our coasts. And it’s stupid, ignorant “China Syndrome” paranoids who run our politics in this regard. Wisdom? Evidence? Science? Throw it all out the window when it comes to voting. You can be the most psychologically damaged, ignoramus and your vote counts the same as the wisest, most far-thinking and benevolent-to-life person on the planet. And we proudly wave our flag for this??

    • J4Zonian Says:

      The oceans are crossed by hundreds of thousands of ships flushing out fuel and contaminated sewage, burning dirty bunker fuel so the particulates fall on the oceans—or worse, on ice so it speeds warming and then ends up in the water. Runoff from GHG-spewing chemical industrial agriculture, with meat by far the largest part of it, is causing dozens of massive dead zones with fertilizer, deadly poisons, and eroded soil; plastics, also off-gassing CO2, cause uncountable wildlife deaths. Oil gushes from tankers, drilling platforms, and pipelines. Acidification threatens every fish, shellfish, cetacean, marine plant, and ecosystem.

      Building thousands more reactors all over the world, scores at a time, as fast as possible trying to compete with onshore and offshore wind and solar PV, offshore PV, CSP, Clothesline Paradox Solar (and geothermal and hydro and tidal and efficiency and wiser lives and all the hybrid systems) increases by some phenomenal but unknown amount, the risk of shoddy work will likely lead to—dozens? scores?—of worst-case scenario nuclear disasters. Fukushima is dismissed by nook boosters as inconsequential (just like Chernobyl and every other disaster is) but released large and almost certainly lied-about amounts of radiation into the Pacific.

      99 reportable-level accidents up to 2009 (killed people or caused $50k+ damage) and more since; Browns Ferry, TMI, Chernobyl, Fukushima, Kyshtym, Sodium Reactor Experiment, Enrico Fermi Unit 1, SL-1, Windscale, the Goiania accident, radiation accidents in Mexico City, Zaragoza, Morocco, Thailand, Mayapuri, Costa Rica, India, Tokaimura… and thousands of other “minor” ones.

      It takes an average of >14 years to build nukes, except it’s gotten longer recently, means millions of people and uncountable others die of air pollution from fossil fuels. Oceans absorb megatons of pollution and keep getting more acid from fossil fuel pollution. Between the time clean safe renewable energy generation or efficiency savings could have been built and reactors are, pollution kills millions. Nuclear electricity is more expensive than that from wind and solar plus batteries, so less can and will be built in the same time, leaving more fossil fuels to kill longer. Those longer construction times than Lazard, etc. assume, is just one of many ways they underestimate the cost of nuclear, so it’s even worse than it seems.

      Hinkley is years overdue and billions over budget, but it has a contract to sell electricity, if and when it’s finished, at 50-100% more than wind and solar have already reached. So there’s enough motivation for the Chinese and Areva, not to mention the Royal Navy to finish it, take the profit and the submarine fuel, and give a big middle finger to climate hopes, and sense, right? What a disgusting, corrupt, and pathological industry.

      You believe in evidence? The idea that wind turbines cause damage remotely close to either climate catastrophe or nuclear power multiplied by is absurd, but show us the evidence that wind turbines do net harm to ocean ecosystems.

      • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

        China is building 17 nukes in as little as 3 1/2 years each. Median build time 4 1/2 years. UAE will have 4 finished in 2022, after about 10 years.

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          I’ve often droned that only fiat governments can crank out nuclear power plants. Established democracies which entail involvement of the public, the private sector, in addition to government (including bribed politicians) make building nuclear power plants untenably expensive and/or late.

          The key is to site them where they’d be displacing coal (and eventually gas) plants.

          Go, China, go.

        • J4Zonian Says:

          More meterless power
          Apparently you don’t believe in evidence.
          “is building” and “will have” means they haven’t yet, are only promising to. “as little as” means almost all of it’s more than.
          Couldn’t fit any more weasel words in there?

          The facts I spelled out remain the same. The average construction time is 14+ years, and it’s certainly not getting better, especially in western European countries with the bad taste to keep building them. The places they are getting built is the places with, believe it or not, even less democracy than we have, where the people in charge are the least trustworthy ones you could imagine, yet full of passionate intensity. But often when people know what they’re doing is wrong, they self-sabotage.

          Like incompetent dictators. I suppose if you’re going to have dangerous technologies, slow ones that get cancelled a lot are the best.

        • J4Zonian Says:

          Does not really answering only 1 point mean stipulating to all the others? Or to all of them?

          Nukes take longer, kill directly and collaborate with fossils to kill millions. [Thus both are tools of the malignantly narcissistic white oligarchic system of domination. Among other meanings, they’re delaying tactics for the nihilistic right–like carbon prices–a trap for conservatives while all real action is stalled, and nook boosters are recruited to the ARF cause by the constructed dichotomy.]

          The avg is global so for every shorter time there’s an equal weight of longer ones, and as I said, times have been getting longer and outcomes worser in the US and western Europe. The faster times are mostly where we trust the govt even less than ours, as impossible as that seems in our proto-fascist corporate oligarchy.


          The 2 biggest fast low-carbon energy increases were hydro; as were 3 of the biggest 6. Seven of the biggest 15 were renewable and 23 of the biggest 43. Every one that started after 2000 has been renewable energy.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Coastal ecosystems are the most prolific and fundamental to the oceans, and the most fragile.

      Are you aware of the reef-like marine life and the “great fishing” people have long reported around oil rigs. The critical difference between an oil rig and an offshore wind support structure is that active oil rigs produce active organic waste (food scraps and worker poop) that nonresidential wind turbines do not.

      I would like to see a study where selected offshore wind turbines are regularly dosed with some amount of organic waste (like municiple compost) to see what kind of ecosystems they can support and maintain. (Have some for control, and other study groups classed by the volume and frequency of the “feeding”.)

      (Of course, if you were only whining about this because American politicians aren’t supporting nuclear power, then go ahead and ignore this potential upside of offshore wind.)

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