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Biden pushes to expand offshore wind energy

On Monday, President Biden announced that he intends for the U.S. electricity sector to be carbon neutral by 2035. His sights are set on lots of wind energy and lots of jobs.

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Later this year, the Interior Department intends to begin selling leases for a new wind energy area between the Jersey coast and Long Island. These relatively shallow waters are known as the New York Bight. The project is called Ocean Wind. A 2020 study by the Wood Mackenzie research firm predicted that constructing wind turbines in the bight could support approximately 32,000 jobs over the next decade. About 6,000 of these jobs would be permanent.

Related: Reindeer herders in Norway take a wind farm to court

“President Biden believes we have an enormous opportunity in front of us to not only address the threats of climate change, but use it as a chance to create millions of good-paying, union jobs that will fuel America’s economic recovery,” White House National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy said in a statement.

Eventually, the Biden administration envisions the offshore wind industry operating all along the east and west coasts and the Gulf of Mexico. By 2030, they aim to deploy 30 gigawatts of turbines — enough to fuel 10 million US homes.

“In areas like the Gulf Coast, you will find steel fabricators, heavy lift vessel operators, subsea construction companies, helicopter service providers and more who built their experience in the oil and gas industry but will be vital in building offshore wind,” National Ocean Industries Association president Erik Milito said in a statement.

But not everybody is stoked about massive wind farms operating off coasts. Local opposition, such as Save Our Shoreline NJ, say the new wind energy would hurt recreation, tourism and the commercial fishing industry. The Biden administration has promised $1 million in grants to assess wind energy’s impact on fishing.

The U.S. is partnering with other countries that are already deep in the wind business. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agreed to share ocean mapping and other environmental data with Ocean Wind’s Danish developer Ørsted.

Via NPR

Lead image via Pixabay

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