Interior and Energy Departments Release Comprehensive Transmission Action Plan to Unlock America’s Vast Potential of Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy.
As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, today the Departments of the Interior and Energy released An Action Plan for Offshore Wind Transmission Development in the U.S. Atlantic Region, a set of bold actions that will catalyze offshore wind energy, strengthen the domestic supply chain, and create good-paying, union jobs. The announcement comes during Climate Week 2023, in which more than a dozen Biden-Harris administration officials — including Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau, and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland — are in New York City participating in a broad range of events to highlight the Administration’s historic climate agenda.
The comprehensive Action Plan developed by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Energy Department’s Grid Deployment Office outlines immediate actions needed to connect the first generation of Atlantic offshore wind projects onto the electric grid, and longer-term efforts to support needed transmission over the next several decades. Coordinated planning can help speed up timelines and lower project costs, while strengthening grid reliability and resilience. The Energy Department also announced the launch of the Tribal Nation Technical Assistance Program for Offshore Wind Transmission offering education and training resources to support engagement in offshore wind planning and created in direct response to Tribal input. Together, these activities will advance equitable and sustainable offshore wind energy development, domestic manufacturing, and grid integration, as part of broader efforts across the Biden-Harris administration to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind in the United States by 2030, unlocking a pathway to 110 GW or more by 2050.
“President Biden has set an ambitious goal of achieving 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 – and I am more confident than ever that we will meet it. Together with industry, labor and other partners from coast to coast, we are building an entirely new industry to bolster our supply chains and strengthen our offshore wind development,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “The Interior Department is committed to the Biden-Harris administration’s all-of-government approach to delivering clean, reliable renewable energy to help respond to the climate crisis, lower energy costs, and create good-paying union jobs across the manufacturing, shipbuilding and construction sectors.”
“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to using all the tools in the toolbox to advance offshore wind as a critical renewable energy source to transition the nation to a clean energy future, “said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The efforts announced today will boost our nation’s ability to deploy wind energy in an equitable way to lower energy costs, create good-paying jobs, and achieve President Biden’s goal of a 100% clean electric grid by 2035.”
President Biden’s economic agenda—Bidenomics— is fueling America’s clean energy future, creating American-made products in American factories with American workers, and attracting more than $500 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments, including in the offshore wind industry.
Since the President took office, companies have announced 19 offshore wind shipbuilding projects as well as investments of nearly $3.5 billion across 12 manufacturing facilities and 13 ports to strengthen the American offshore wind supply chain, representing thousands of new jobs. BOEM and federal partners are engaged in a thoughtful, all-of-government approach to collaborating on issues like ocean co-use and efficient permitting to build a robust offshore wind industry that benefits communities and co-exists with other ocean users with minimal impacts. The Biden-Harris administration has approved four commercial-scale, offshore wind energy projects and remains on track to complete reviews of at least 16 offshore wind project plans by 2025, representing more than 27 gigawatts of clean energy.
An Action Plan for Offshore Wind Transmission Development in the U.S. Atlantic Region
Partially funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest climate investment in history, An Action Plan for Offshore Wind Transmission Development in the U.S. Atlantic Region details how wind resources could efficiently be captured off the Atlantic Coast of the United States and delivered to communities as clean, reliable power. It outlines immediate actions needed to connect the first generation of Atlantic offshore wind projects to the electric grid, as well as longer-term efforts to increase transmission over the next several decades. Over the mid- to long-term, increased intra-regional coordination, shared transmission lines, and an offshore network of high-voltage direct-current interlinks can more efficiently bring this energy onshore.
The plan’s recommendations for federal, state and local governments, industry, and stakeholders include:
- Before 2025: Establish collaborative bodies that span the Atlantic Coast region; clarify some of the building blocks of transmission planning, including updating reliability standards and identifying where offshore transmission may interconnect with the onshore grid; and address costs through voluntary cost assignments and tax credits.
- From 2025 to 2030: Simultaneously convene and coordinate with states to plan for an offshore transmission network; with industry to standardize requirements for HVDC technology; and with federal agencies, Tribal nations, state agencies, and stakeholders to identify and prioritize transmission paths on the outer continental shelf.
- From 2030 to 2040: Establish a national HVDC testing and certification center to ensure compatibility when interconnecting multiple HVDC substations to form an offshore grid network.
The Energy Department and multiple Atlantic states have begun work on the first of these recommendations, which is the formation of an Offshore Wind Transmission State Collaborative to develop a shared vision on policy and approach to coordination for offshore transmission development.
The Action Plan was informed by the Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Study, which will soon be released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, as well as a series of convening workshops with subject matter experts and decision makers, including Tribal nations, state governments, and regional transmission operators held from April 2022 to March 2023.
Tribal Nation Technical Assistance Program for Offshore Wind Transmission
Partially funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, the Tribal Nation Technical Assistance Program for Offshore Wind Transmission supports the engagement of federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes and Villages in activities related to the planning and development of U.S. offshore wind transmission. This technical assistance program was developed in direct response to Tribal input and offers capacity building through educational resources, training and expert matching with technical experts and researchers at DOE’s national labs. To support Tribal representation at key offshore wind transmission forums, the program will also provide funding to mitigate the financial burden of participation.