May 25 (UPI) -- The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it's reached a deal with California to open up the Pacific Coast to commercial wind farms that could create enough energy to power 1.6 million homes.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said the agreement could create tens of thousands of "good-paying union jobs" while combatting climate change. The government plans to begin selling the leases in 2022.
"I believe that a clean energy future is within our grasp in the United States, but it will take all of us and the best-available science to make it happen," she said.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the development would be a "game changer" to California's clean energy goals and tackling climate change.
"This historic announcement, which could provide clean power for up to 1.6 million homes over the next decade, represents the innovative approach we need for a clean energy economy that protects the coasts, fisheries, marine life and Tribal and cultural resources we value so much as Californians," he said.
The Biden administration aims to develop offshore wind projects to generate 30 gigawatts of energy by 2030. The Pacific coast projects could bring up to 4.6 gigawatts of energy to the grid.
The West Coast projects join a newly announced federal wind farm approved to be built off the shore of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. The 800-megawatt project is expected to produce enough energy to power up to 400,000 homes and create some 3,600 jobs.
The Interior and Defense departments identified about 399 square miles along California's central coast to support about 3 gigawatts of offshore wind, and another potential site for development along the northern coast. The two Cabinet departments partnered to identify ideal locations since the Defense Department uses the region for testing and training.
Because waters are much deeper in this area of the Pacific compared with the Atlantic Ocean, the Biden administration said it plans to utilize new floating offshore wind technology -- the result of $100 million in research and development.
"Today's announcement again demonstrates that by taking a whole-of-government approach, the U.S. can smartly develop our nation's world-class offshore wind energy resources, deploy new technologies that our government has helped to advance, and create thousands of good-paying, union jobs -- all in the service of combating the climate crisis," national climate adviser Gina McCarthy said.