The White House is partnering with 11 states to accelerate the development of offshore wind facilities, a move that is part of President Joe Biden’s plans to expand clean energy technologies in the country and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. The Biden Administration plans to approve new offshore wind projects to power nearly 10 million homes.

The Biden administration and 11 East Coast states forged a new partnership to boost the development of offshore wind farms and related infrastructure in the country, the White House announced on Thursday.

The new Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership was initially signed by governors from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. But the project could soon “expand to include governors from the West Coast and the Gulf of Mexico” – the White House said in a statement.  

Wind energy in the US has been growing consistently in recent years: according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2021, wind turbines accounted for about 9.2% of total utility-scale electricity generation. Further boosting clean energy technologies such as wind power in the coming decades is a core pillar of Biden’s climate agenda. The US plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, partly by getting the electricity grid to run entirely on clean energy by 2035. 

Until now, only two commercial-sate offshore wind projects have been approved. The new partnership will see states collaborate with the government to solve some of the major bottlenecks that have prevented the advancement of offshore wind technologies, from facilitating “timely and effective permitting and environmental reviews” to securing the specialised ships needed to erect huge turbines in the open ocean.

With the new partnership, Biden aims to expand offshore wind capacity from 42 megawatts today to 30,000 by 2030, which should provide enough clean energy capacity to power nearly 10 million homes. To achieve this, the US would require building 2,100 wind turbines and foundations, five to six installation vessels, and a fleet of other kinds of specialised ships, along with 6,800 miles of cable to connect far-flung turbines to the homes they’ll power onshore – a report published in March found. The partnership is expected to create between 12,300 and 49,000 full-time jobs annually. 

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