Biden Announces Plan to Develop Floating Offshore Wind for the West Coast

Biden on Thursday announced several new initiatives to develop technology for massive floating wind turbines as part of the effort to launch offshore wind power in California and elsewhere on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm estimated that floating wind turbines could generate up to 2.8 terawatts of clean wind power in the future, more than double the country’s current demand for electricity.

The technology should be developed and ready for deployment once California begins developing its first offshore wind farm in the next few years; The Department of the Interior is set to hold a wind power lease auction later this fall off the coast of Morro Bay. Other future floating offshore wind developments are planned off the coast of Oregon and the Gulf of Maine, although dates for those lease sales have not been set.

“More than half of the nation’s offshore wind power sources are in deep water,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told reporters Thursday. “The buoyant wind will help us reach areas that were previously considered unreachable.”

The Interior on Thursday announced a new goal of adding 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind power capacity by 2035, which alone could be enough to power up to 5 million American homes, Haaland said. That goal is in addition to Interior’s plan to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030.

Additionally, Granholm and White House climate officials announced a new initiative designed to reduce the cost of floating offshore wind power by more than 70%. Granholm called the plan “bold” and said those cost reductions would be boosted by Biden’s recent climate law.

Outgoing White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy called offshore wind a “really booming new American industry” and said the new initiative was designed so that the US could try to position itself “to lead the world in floating offshore wind power”.

The administration said last year that it was moving to promote offshore wind power off the California coast for the first time. When developed, the selected regions will have the potential to generate enough green power for up to 1.6 million homes over the next decade, administration officials said at the time.

Deepwater regions off the West Coast and other coastal areas, including the Gulf of Maine, will require turbines to be installed on floating platforms and moored to the sea floor. The platforms will also allow floating wind turbines to be installed further offshore.