1 of 3 | Wind energy developments in the Atlantic Ocean helped set the stage for federal plans to open up more offshore areas to potential wind energy developers. Photo courtesy of Dominion Energy.
Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The White House said Wednesday it moved one step closer to meeting its offshore wind energy goals by announcing the first lease sale for developments in the Gulf of Mexico.
President Joe Biden set a goal of having 30 gigawatts of offshore wind installed by 2030, with another 15 GW coming from floating turbine installations by 2035. To reach that goal, the administration said it opened its first lease sale for offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico.
Three lease areas off Texas and Louisiana could support the development of enough wind energy to meet the demands of nearly 1.3 million average households, the White House in a fact sheet.
"The proposed auction includes provisions that would incentivize new investments in workforce training and a domestic supply chain, to expand economic opportunities across offshore wind manufacturing, port operations, and more," the White House said.
Biden already made strides on his offshore wind energy ambitions. His administration in 2021 approved construction of a large-scale wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island that will supply 70,000 of New York homes with power.
That project was the second major offshore wind project in U.S. federal waters after the first commercial project broke ground in Massachusetts.
While offshore wind in the U.S. economy is in the nascent stage, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said the government was exploring the possibility of new offshore lease sales by 2025 in the Gulf of Maine, New York Bright, Central Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as off the coast of the Carolinas and California.
California already has a head start with mandates calling for a net-zero economy by 2045. State plans include offshore wind energy and the federal government in December leased the first Pacific sites for offshore wind farms, with plans to power over 1.5 million homes.
Under the new initiatives announced Wednesday, the Biden administration said California and Louisiana are joining a federal offshore wind energy partnership to advance opportunities even further.
"California Governor Gavin Newsom and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards have been leaders on seizing clean energy opportunities that create good-paying jobs, lower costs for families, and reduce climate pollution," the White House said.
The Energy Department estimates renewable power capacity increases from 22% of total generation in 2022 to 26% next year, supported in part by the expected addition of 13 GW of wind energy.