World outlook

Wind turbines off the shore of Block Island, Rhode Island.

That said, she feels we will need a clear eye for the challenges ahead. Firstly, there are questions around how offshore wind will be integrated into the marketplace. On the whole, the states in the northeast have a deregulated energy market, meaning generation is competitive and separated out. It isn’t necessarily clear what the grid will look like or how it will handle the inherent volatility of wind.

“We need to make sure that positive, non- polluting infrastructure is located in those areas [where wind farms may be established], and that there’s the jobs, training and opportunities to go with it.”

Barbara Kates-Garnick Eurocentric electricity

There are equity issues at stake too, both in terms of who gets the jobs, and in how the infrastructure costs are calibrated. Right now, the developers are often European companies. It will be important to work out how US companies can partner with them and reap the benefits.

$25bn The annual

economic output that Biden’s plan could generate by 2030.

American Wind Energy Association


“What are their hiring practices and how are they accounting for diversity and inclusion?” asks Kates-Garnick. “How are they supporting the local communities where they’re developing their projects? Often in the US, undesirable projects have been located in areas that are underserved. We need to make sure that positive, non-polluting infrastructure is located in those areas, and that there’s the jobs, training and opportunities to go with it.” While remarking that “everything to do with energy and infrastructure is challenging”, she feels

there are, nonetheless, some big opportunities in store for developers that get it right. “You need to understand the regulatory milieu, understand the socio-economic milieu and understand the links between clean energy and climate,” she says. “The developers have to engage in these conversations at multiple levels across multiple processes. That’s particularly important at this stage because it’s a whole new industry that’s coming to the East Coast of the US.” Zichal agrees that, even with European expertise and lessons learned, putting a large infrastructure project in US waters remains an unknown quantity for the moment.

“It obviously requires careful review and the engagement of multiple ocean users,” she says. “And while the existing lease sales and projects that are on the books today hold tremendous opportunity, we also need to look at the additional areas in our nation’s waters where we can focus on lease auctions, starting with the New York Bight [a seabed indentation off the coast of Long Island] in late 2021.” She thinks that, while Biden’s offshore wind goals are ambitious, they will be achievable through taking a whole-of-government approach, with multiple agencies involved in coordinating projects. “The president has made it very clear that he expects all of the agencies to work aggressively to throw everything we can at the climate crisis,” she says. “I am pretty optimistic that given the support up and down the coasts [and] given the support in blue and red states, that Biden will be a huge success when it comes to significantly increasing the deployment of clean power. And, certainly, our member companies stand ready to work hand in hand with the administration to do so.” ●

World Wind Technology /

Diane Diederich/

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