Biden administration launches big push for offshore wind

Moderate seas surround an offshore wind farm.

Enlarge / Sights like these may be more common in the US before long. (credit: Nathan Stirk / Getty Images)

On Monday, the Biden administration announced a major effort to kickstart the offshore wind industry in the US. While offshore installations have been booming in Europe, the US is still limited to a single, small offshore farm, with new projects seeing repeated delays during the previous administration. Now, the US is laying the groundwork to see 30 GW of offshore capacity installed over the decade, with extensive growth possible in the decades beyond.

The effort involves the coordinated activities of multiple agencies, including everything from accelerated permitting of planned projects to research funding intended to lower future costs.

And end to delays

While the US is one of the global leaders in wind power, almost all of its turbines are on land. Here, the logistics of installation and required support hardware are substantially simpler and less expensive. That has allowed wind power prices to eclipse nearly every other option for generating electricity. But offshore wind is far more challenging, and it’s only recently that costs have dropped to the point where offshore wind is competitive with nuclear and coal.

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