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Biden targets big offshore wind power expansion to fight climate change

The Biden administration on Monday unveiled a goal to expand the nation’s fledgling offshore wind energy industry in the coming decade by opening new areas to development, accelerating permits, and boosting public financing for projects. The plan is part of President Joe Biden’s broader effort to eliminate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change, an agenda that Republicans argue could bring economic ruin but which Democrats say can create jobs while protecting the environment.

The blueprint for offshore wind power generation comes after the Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leasing auctions on federal lands and waters, widely seen as a first step to fulfilling the president’s campaign promise of a permanent ban on new federal drilling to counter global warming. The United States, with just two small offshore wind facilities, has lagged European nations in developing the renewable energy technology. The administration of Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had vowed to launch offshore wind as a promising new domestic industry but failed to permit any projects.

The plan sets a target to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, which the administration said would be enough to power 10 million homes and cut 78 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. One of the first steps will be to open a new offshore wind energy development zone in the New York Bight, an area off the densely populated coast between Long Island, New York and New Jersey, with a lease auction there later this year.

The plan was met with skepticism by a fishing industry group that noted the plan’s pledge of just $1 million for research into the effects of offshore wind on fisheries. Fishing groups worry that massive turbines in the ocean would interfere with fishing routes and impact commercial species.

Biden targets big offshore wind power expansion to fight climate change, Reuters, Mar 30

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