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New wind farms reportedly dot U.S. coasts as part of Biden plan

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WASHINGTON – Seven large offshore wind farms are said to be developed on the east and west coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico under a plan announced by the Biden administration on Wednesday.

The projects are part of President Joe Biden’s plan to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, generating enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes.

Home Secretary Deb Haaland said her department hopes to close lease sales by 2025 off the coasts of Maine, New York and the mid-Atlantic, as well as the Carolinas, California, Oregon and the Gulf of Mexico. The projects are part of Biden’s plan to tackle climate change and could avert an estimated 78 million metric tons of global warming carbon dioxide emissions, while creating up to 77,000 jobs, officials said.

“The Home Office is developing an ambitious roadmap as we push forward the administration’s plans to tackle climate change, create well-paying jobs and accelerate the country’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” Haaland said. “We have big goals to achieve clean energy savings and Interior is sticking to the timing. “

In addition to offshore wind, the Home Office is working with other federal agencies to increase renewable energy production on public lands, Haaland said, with a target of at least 25 gigawatts of energy. renewable onshore from wind and solar energy by 2025.

Haaland and Amanda Lefton, director of the department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said officials hope to minimize potential conflicts with fishing groups and other ocean users as much as possible. “This means that we will engage early and often with all stakeholders before identifying new wind energy areas,” Lefton said in a statement.

Commercial fishing companies have said offshore wind projects planned off the East Coast will make it difficult to harvest valuable seafood species such as scallops and lobsters. Some conservation groups also fear large turbines will kill thousands of birds

Biden has set a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts, or 30,000 megawatts, of offshore wind power in the United States by 2030. Reaching the goal could mean jobs for more than 44,000 workers and 33,000 more. in related jobs, the White House said.

The office completed its review of a construction and operating plan for the Vineyard Wind project 15 miles off the Massachusetts coast earlier this year. The agency is reviewing nine additional projects, including the South Fork Wind Farm near New York’s Long Island and the Ocean Wind Project off New Jersey.

Vineyard Wind is expected to produce around 800 megawatts and South Fork around 132 megawatts. Ocean Wind, the largest project, has a total capacity of 1,100 megawatts, enough energy to power 500,000 homes across New Jersey.

The administration has pledged to address the remaining 13 projects currently under federal review by 2025.

The Ocean Energy Agency said it was targeting offshore wind projects in shallow waters near Long Island and New Jersey. A recent study shows that the region can support up to 25,000 jobs in development and construction by 2030, the interior ministry said.

Heather Zichal, former climate advisor to President Barack Obama, who now heads the American Clean Power Association, a renewable energy group, said Biden’s target for offshore wind was “ambitious but achievable.” Wind power is a critical part of the goal of achieving 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035, she said.

In a related announcement, the Department of Energy said it was spending $ 11.5 million to study the risks that offshore wind development could pose to birds, bats and marine mammals, and study changes in commercial populations of fish and marine invertebrates at an offshore wind farm on the east coast. .

The ministry will spend $ 2 million for visual surveys and acoustic monitoring of marine mammals and seabirds at potential wind power sites on the west coast.

“In order for Americans living in coastal areas to see the benefits of offshore wind, we must ensure that it is done carefully for the surrounding ecosystem by coexisting with fishing and marine life – and that is exactly what. that this investment will do, ”the Energy Secretary said. Jennifer Granholm said in a press release.

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