WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, at the inaugural Floating Offshore Wind Shot™ Summit, the Departments of Energy, the Interior, Commerce, and Transportation convened federal, state, Tribal, labor, industry, and community leaders to discuss significant progress toward development of floating offshore wind in the United States.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm kicked off the summit by affirming the goals of the Floating Offshore Wind Shot to drive U.S. leadership in floating offshore wind design, development, and manufacturing, reduce the costs of this technology by over 70% and deploy 15 gigawatts by 2035. She announced efforts to jumpstart West Coast offshore wind transmission planning and research and partnerships.
“We see floating offshore wind as one of the clean energy technologies with the most upside potential for deployment in the coming decades,” said Secretary Granholm. “This Energy Earthshot is about so much more than just adding clean energy to the grid, this is about investing in American innovation and bringing supply chains home. It’s about creating jobs from sea to shining sea, and it’s about making America more energy secure and more energy independent.”
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland provided an update on progress toward floating offshore wind deployment. This included the first offshore lease sale off of California, increasing planning efforts for floating offshore wind in Oregon, and ongoing work with Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire to bring offshore wind to that region.
“By harnessing the power of offshore wind, the Biden-Harris administration is establishing the United States as a world leader in floating offshore wind,” said Secretary Haaland. “Pursuing this exciting technology will provide communities with cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable energy and create good-paying jobs all while having the least impact on the environment and ocean users.”
Ali Zaidi, Assistant to the President and White House National Climate Advisor affirmed that harnessing the reliable and affordable clean power generated from floating, offshore wind is a key part of President Biden’s clean energy and economic agenda, which will strengthen domestic manufacturing, bolster our energy security, and lower energy costs for millions of American families and businesses. He also announced that California and Louisiana would join the Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership.
“President Biden is committed to seizing the massive economic opportunity embedded in taking on the climate crisis – and do so in a way that builds our economy from the bottom up and the middle out, creating good-paying union jobs,” said National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi. “With floating offshore wind, we are positioning ourselves not to catch up, but to lead – to forge the frontier of a new technology that’s critical to our energy security.”
Rear Admiral (Ret.) Ann Phillips, Administrator of the Maritime Administration (MARAD) discussed the designation of offshore wind vessels as Vessels of National Interest under the Title XI program, and the surge of interest from industry in this program. She further addressed the $2.25 billion investment in our nations’ ports made possible by the President’s landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law under the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). PIDP funding can be used to modernize and improve ports to support offshore wind development. Last year, MARAD awarded nearly $100 million to port projects intended to support offshore wind, and they recently announced more than $660 million in PIDP funding is available in 2023 for this program.
“DOT and MARAD are thrilled to be supporting the President’s drive to grow our offshore wind industry by supporting construction of Jones Act-compliant vessels through Title XI, and the development of port infrastructure through PIDP. We are also working to grow the mariner pool to attract the next generation the offshore wind industry’s well-paying, innovative and technically challenging jobs!”
Administrator Richard Spinrad of the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) highlighted the importance of partnerships between the public and private sectors, as well as across federal agencies and between federal, state, tribal, and local governments. Achieving these ambitious floating offshore wind goals in a way that prioritizes energy justice, ocean co-use, and environmental sustainability, and that benefits all Americans means overcoming many challenges that require collaborative solutions.
Governor Janet Mills announced the release of the Maine Offshore Wind Roadmap, an 18-month collaborative process involving hundreds of leaders in the environment, energy, and fisheries communities to determine the best way forward with responsible offshore wind development in the state.
Governor John Bel Edwards highlighted the potential for floating as well as fixed bottom offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico, and emphasized that Louisiana, with its significant offshore oil and gas presence, can be an example for a successful clean energy transition.
Senator Markey of Massachusetts discussed how federal and state manufacturing incentives for offshore wind will lower the burden of energy costs for Americans and ensure the transition to a clean economy creates jobs. Congresswoman Bonamici of Oregon and Congressman Carbajal of California discussed the importance of floating offshore wind in their states’ paths to decarbonization, as well as the opportunities to boost jobs and economic development in the region and engage with coastal communities.
AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, spoke about the opportunity floating offshore wind represents to create quality union jobs from coast to coast. Growing a strong domestic workforce as well as building out the offshore wind supply chain will be a critical area to watch.
“Let’s take this potential and turn it into an American economy that leads the world. Our unions are ready to do it, our workers are ready to do it, and I know this Administration is ready to do it too,” said Shuler.
Council Member Jason Ramos of California’s Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe spoke about the environmental deterioration caused by climate change, and his tribe's energy plan, developed with help from DOE, to be net-zero by 2030.
"We look forward to offshore wind in our region and we want to be included,” said Council Member Ramos. “We think it’s the right path culturally for respect of our ancestors and to the promise of future generations that we leave future generations not burdened with problems but rather with the hope of the prospects of a productive future. A future that contains abundant low-carbon critical energy infrastructure and jobs and education in our disadvantaged communities. We look forward to the investment in human capital, education, job training in this floating offshore wind market."
The summit also convened leading researchers, entrepreneurs, and wind energy developers, whose work will be crucial to achieving the dramatic cost reductions necessary. Attendees heard about the multitude of current funding opportunities to drive innovation in floating wind energy technology, including turbine and platform design, transmission, and much more.
These and the rest of the over 60 summit speakers, alongside efforts announced this week in a White House Factsheet, emphasize the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to sustainable and just development of floating offshore wind as a cornerstone of regional and economy-wide decarbonization. Expanding domestic offshore wind deployment will be critical to boost America’s global leadership on emerging clean energy technologies and lessen our foreign dependence on fossil fuels.