May 24 (UPI) -- Several governors in U.S. states said they're taking the initiative in building up national recognition for leadership in renewable energy.
"We're taking another step forward in rebuilding New Jersey's reputation as a leader in the development of clean energy sources while fulfilling a critical promise to foster our state's energy future," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said in a statement.
Murphy signed off on a renewable energy standard that mandates 21 percent of the energy sold to New Jersey consumers come from renewable energy by the end of the decade, 35 percent five years later and 50 percent by 2030.
The measure -- A-3723 -- also codifies Murphy's objective of obtaining 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030.
In Massachusetts, a state energy body said an 800 MW offshore project led by Vineyard Wind was the bidder of choice. Offshore power company Deepwater Wind, the pioneer in offshore wind power in the United States, was selected to build a new 400 MW facility off the coast of Rhode Island.
Tom Kiernan, the CEO of the trade group American Wind Energy Association, said states up and down the Atlantic coast are setting the national bar for wind energy.
"With world-class wind resources, infrastructure and offshore energy expertise, the U.S. is primed to scale up this industry and lead it," he said in a statement emailed to UPI.
Recent state efforts follow similar moves in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address in January rolled out a broad-based agenda to address climate change by building a state economy based on clean energy. Among the new efforts is a call to procure at least 800 MW of offshore wind power by next year.
U.S. President Donald Trump has been a vocal supporter of the fossil fuels industry. But in an April op-ed in the Boston Globe, his interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, said wind energy is an important tool in the president's strategy of energy dominance.
State agencies are tasked with handling wind energy development, though the federal government deals with activity in national waters. Since 2013, more than 1 million acres of offshore land have been leased in federal waters.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory said offshore acreage has the potential to generate 4,200 gigawatts of wind power. One gigawatt is enough to power 1 million LED light bulbs.