This week, the clean energy industry has celebrated the inaugural American Clean Power Week – an entire week dedicated to recognizing the ways clean energy is powering American jobs, driving critical investment into local communities, and building a better future for the United States.
The final day of American Clean Power Week looks to the future and the growing American offshore wind sector, which is poised to see a surge in growth similar to that solar and land-based wind have enjoyed in recent years. Offshore wind is on the verge of taking off in America and is set to be a vital part of the nation’s clean power future. Look no further for proof than the exciting announcements that took place during American Clean Power Association’s (ACP’s) recent offshore wind conference.
From October 13 – 15, more than 1,000 people gathered in Boston at the ACP Offshore WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition to celebrate the forward momentum of the burgeoning U.S. offshore wind industry. It was my absolute honor to co-chair this year’s Offshore Conference alongside GE Renewable Energy’s Christy Guthman. As co-chair, I was pleased to help support ACP in designing an offshore wind program that brought together our industry’s leading developers, suppliers, local organizations, government agencies, and academia to discuss today’s opportunities and challenges. It’s an exciting time in the growth of U.S. offshore wind and the level of enthusiasm from everyone present simply could not be replicated on a Teams or Zoom call.
As I believe was the case for many others, this conference was particularly exciting for me because it created an opportunity to meet industry peers that I’ve previously met only through video. It would be remiss of me not to mention the attention to the COVID-19 protocols that ACP put in place for the conference. At Equinor, safety is our No.1 priority, and I was pleased with ACP’s consistent attention to safety at the conference with the daily health screens, mask policy, and social distancing between attendees. It felt good to be together—and to do so in a smart and safe way.
The U.S. offshore wind industry has made much headwind over the past year, in line with the federal government’s new goal to achieve 30 gigawatts of power from offshore wind by 2030. In support of that ambition, we witnessed U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s (live!) announcement that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will potentially hold up to seven new offshore lease sales across almost all U.S. coastlines by 2025, including in the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, Central Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, as well as the Carolinas, California and Oregon. She called the administration’s plan a road map to show “exactly where we’re headed and how to achieve a clean-energy future by 2030.” It’s energizing to see the growth of offshore wind, which reflects the continuing hunger from states across the country to find renewable solutions to their energy needs.
U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s announces the Biden administration’s offshore wind framework at Offshore WINDPOWER 2021
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker also made news at the conference, announcing his introduction of legislation to further boost offshore wind energy development and workforce training in the Bay State. In addition to these exciting policy announcements, we also heard from industry leaders, academics, and local government leaders who shared the work that is happening to scale up offshore wind in the United States. From environmental justice to the importance of port infrastructure upgrades, and ensuring our country has the transmission infrastructure to deliver clean power, the conference covered a gamut of topics.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker addresses the crowd at Offshore WINDPOWER 2021 in Boston, MA.
With offshore wind, we are on the cusp of creating a brand new, domestic industry here in the United States. At Equinor, we are excited about our offshore wind projects, Empire Wind and Beacon Wind that we are developing together bp. These developments will help New York achieve its ambitious renewable energy goals and contribute to the Administration’s offshore wind targets. Not only will harnessing America’s offshore wind resources deliver vast amounts of reliable clean energy to our biggest population centers, it will also create tens of thousands of highly-skilled U.S. jobs both during project development and operations. According to research from the Workforce Development Institute, building and operating an offshore wind farm requires a diverse workforce of 74 different occupations including ironworkers, pipefitters, and vessel operators. Specifically, ACP’s research shows that developing 30 GW of offshore wind over the next decade could create 83,000 new jobs and attract $57 billion of investment into the U.S. economy.
We all benefit from an offshore wind industry that continues to move toward scale, with fresh new market entrants, local supply chain participants and an expanding workforce creating positive dividends for all involved in this path-breaking new industry.
Thanks to the ACP for organizing such a successful offshore wind event, and like many of you, I can’t wait for the next one! We are in this together, and together, we will advance the offshore wind industry in the U.S. May the wind continue to be at our backs!
Offshore WINDPOWER attendees can access any of the event records, on demand sessions and matchmaking opportunities by logging in with event credentials here. Save the date for ACP’s 2022 Offshore WINDPOWER Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, October 18 – 19.
This is a guest blog post from ACP member Equinor. To learn more information on how to become an ACP member, please visit our membership page.