Deep-water regions on the West Coast — and other coastal areas, including the Gulf of Maine — will require turbines to be installed on floating platforms and anchored to the seabed. The platforms will also allow the installation of turbines further from the coast.
US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm estimated that the turbines could unlock 2.8 terawatts of clean energy in the future, more than double the country’s current electricity demand.
The technology must be ready to be developed and deployed when California begins developing its first offshore wind farm in the coming years; The Department of the Interior will hold an auction of wind leases this fall, off the coast of Morro Bay. Other future floating offshore wind developments are planned for the Oregon and Maine Gulf coasts, although dates for those lease sales have not been determined.
“More than half of the nation’s offshore wind resources are in deep water,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told reporters Thursday. “Floating wind will help us reach areas that were once unreachable.”
The Interior announced a new goal Thursday to add 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind power by 2035 — that alone could be enough to power 5 million American homes, Haaland said. That goal is in addition to Interior’s plan to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.
In addition, Granholm and White House climate officials announced a new initiative designed to reduce the cost of offshore wind power by more than 70%. Granholm called the plan “bold” and said those cost reductions would boost Biden’s latest climate legislation.
Outgoing White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy called offshore wind “really America’s new growth industry,” and the new initiative was designed to allow the U.S. to “try to lead the world in floating offshore wind.”
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that the Biden administration plans to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030.