Biden to expand offshore wind power in the Gulf of Mexico


US President Joe Biden today announced that his administration will pursue the development of offshore wind energy in the Gulf of Mexico, which is already a hub for oil and gas production.

Offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico

Biden made the announcement at a former coal-fired power plant in Brayton Point, Massachusetts, that will host a cable manufacturing facility to support offshore wind.

The Wind Energy Areas in the Gulf of Mexico cover 700,000 acres and have the potential to power over 3 million homes. One area is off Galveston, Texas, and the other area is near Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The Department of the Interior will also pursue wind energy development in the waters off the mid- and southern Atlantic Coast and Florida’s Gulf Coast.

This announcement follows Biden’s launch of a new Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership that brought together 11 East Coast governors to deliver more clean, affordable energy and new jobs.

Biden previously announced an ambitious leasing strategy for the Department of the Interior to hold up to seven offshore wind auctions by 2025, and two were already held this this year.

The expansion of the US offshore wind industry is a key part of Biden’s plan to decarbonize the electricity sector by 2035. That plan has been put into jeopardy by Senator Joe Manchin’s refusal to engage in climate talks.

Reactions to the announcement

Liz Burdock, CEO and founder of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, said:

President Biden’s actions today will help drive development of the emerging offshore wind supply chain by unlocking much-needed workforce expertise, resources, and infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico and giving traditional energy workers opportunities to transition to new, good-paying jobs.

John Bowman, managing director of government affairs for Natural Resources Defense Council, said:

Today’s action… advances a key part of the solution, tapping into the vast potential for clean, renewable power from offshore wind turbines. What’s important now is to build on this momentum with climate action that meets the moment. Congress still has work to do – starting with passing badly needed clean energy incentives. And Biden must make sure every part of the government is part of the climate fix – not the problem.

Diane Hoskins, climate and energy campaign director at Oceana, said:

Advancing offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico will lower energy costs, create jobs, and increase domestic energy production all while fighting climate change. Responsible offshore wind stands in stark contrast to dirty and dangerous offshore drilling which shuts down local economies after disastrous oil spills. Our oceans can be a part of the energy solution and provide jobs for transitioning oil and gas workers. Oceana applauds President Biden for his leadership on advancing offshore wind production in the United States. Now it’s time for President Biden to follow through on his campaign commitment to protect our oceans and coasts from dirty and dangerous offshore drilling by including no new leases in the final Five-Year Plan.

Read more: The real reason Joe Manchin is sabotaging the US clean energy plan [update]

Photo: “Gulf of Mexico” by Calsidyrose is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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