As we kick off our Offshore WINDPOWER Conference today in Providence, R.I., it’s exciting to look toward the future of a robust wind industry in this country. Just a decade ago, that future was almost unimaginable – but now it’s well within our grasp.
Offshore wind developers and partners have worked tirelessly over the past decade to bring the industry to life in the United States, starting with Rhode Island’s Block Island Wind Farm – a stone’s throw away from where the industry is gathering this week.
And now, as a result of the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the idea of expanding offshore wind throughout the Northeast and building and operating offshore wind turbines in U.S. waters along all our coasts to provide our communities with clean, safe and reliable energy is more than just a pipe dream.
Perhaps nothing demonstrates the growth of the industry in our country more than our anticipated attendance at this year’s Offshore WINDPOWER Conference, where we’ll welcome a record 2,000+ attendees – from developers to turbine manufacturers, OEMs, politicians, and more. There is so much to celebrate this week as we all gather.
On the federal level, we worked with the Biden Administration and a bipartisan group of states to set an ambitious, but attainable, goal of 30 gigawatts (GW) of domestic offshore wind by 2030. And just weeks ago, the administration also announced new initiatives that will help deploy enough Floating Offshore Wind to power 5 million homes, allowing us to tap into the vast energy resources provided by strong winds over deep waters outside of the Northeast coast. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes critical funding to improve ports, develop modeling tools for project design and invest in record levels of research, development, and demonstration efforts. And the recently-passed IRA brings much-needed certainty and investments to incentivize even more renewable and reliable offshore wind energy.
There is even more to recognize on the state level, with more than 74,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind procurements established in both red and blue states. In New York alone, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) generated more than $4 billion in revenue from the Bight auction – a record-setting amount of investment across all U.S. offshore energy lease auctions. In addition, five coastal Northeast states, including Rhode Island, are currently coordinating on transmission logistics because they recognize that, given the fast growth of offshore wind in the decades to come, cooperation is needed to ensure every New England project is able to integrate into the electrical grid.
With national goals to achieve 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030, the offshore wind industry will play a vital role in establishing U.S. energy independence and will bring significant economic opportunities along with it. Not only is the promise of clean and affordable energy within reach, but so too are the tens of thousands of good-paying jobs in the development, construction, and operations fields to support it.
It won’t just be coastal communities that will see the economic benefits of U.S. offshore wind. Industry development will accelerate economic opportunity for American manufacturing, construction, and supply chains across the nation, as well as prompting investment and upgrades to necessary infrastructure. For example, steel sourced from West Virginia and Alabama is currently being used to construct the nation’s first offshore wind turbine installation vessel in a Texas shipyard.
Certainly, there are still challenges ahead to realize the promise of this industry in the United States. From transmission to permitting reform to establishing a healthy supply chain, together we are ready to tackle these challenges and ensure we continue to build the kind of robust offshore wind industry we know is possible in this country.
Imagine the American offshore wind future: A new domestic supply chain; tens of thousands of good-paying jobs; revitalization of port communities; and billions of dollars invested in manufacturing, ports, workforce development and research.
ACP is excited by the opportunity to help accelerate the clean energy transition and bring the urgent need for clean, affordable, and reliable energy to life.