The United States wants to lead a clean energy revolution, and offshore wind is at the centre of the strategy. The future is green, and the Biden administration is heading in that direction.
The proposed infrastructure investment is part of the ‘Green New Deal’, which sparked controversy during the US presidential election but could revolutionise American energy.
But what is the ‘Green New Deal’ and how does it work under the Biden administration?
It is not a single project or piece of legislation. The Green New Deal was devised more than 10 years ago and outlines the broad principles to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the US economy by 2030.
Biden's climate plan is the boldest of any US president in history, but he aims to reach this milestone by 2050, fighting the climate crisis, creating jobs, and tackling inequality.
The plan envisions:
Sourcing 100% of the country’s electricity from renewable and zero-emissions power.
Building or upgrading to “smart” power grids.
Creating millions of high-wage jobs in the green economy.
Overhauling infrastructure with electric vehicles and public transport including high-speed rail.
Upgrading all existing buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency.
Building resiliency against climate change-related disasters.
Restoring forests to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Working with farmers to cut emissions from the agricultural sector.
It can generate thousands of jobs and unlock billions of dollars in investment in the coming years.
Source: Diane Diederich/Shutterstock
The question is how can the US reach 30GW by 2030?
Currently, US offshore wind energy has about 42 megawatts (MW) of capacity and only one operational offshore commercial wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island (Block Island Wind Farm).
The target represents not only a ramp-up but a stimulus for the sustainable development of America’s offshore wind industry. The challenges and opportunities to put the US on track to deliver 30GW of offshore wind installations by 2030 have been discussed by many specialists.
They believe in a strategy based on leasing, infrastructure, regional collaboration, and global standardised training.
Greenlight to the first utility-scale offshore wind project
It is a huge moment, especially because authorities gave the go-ahead for the construction and operation of the first major offshore wind farm in the country: the Vineyard Wind 1 project.
With 800MW of installed capacity, 84 offshore wind turbines, and an investment of over $3bn, the Vineyard Wind 1 project is the first utility-scale offshore wind energy project in the United States.
It is located in waters off the coast of Massachusetts and will generate about 2GW of electricity from wind power.
The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is also studying the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Ocean Wind Offshore Project, putting it in line to become America’s third commercial-scale offshore wind project.
Top 5 offshore wind projects in the United States:
These are the top 5 projects in the sector. Click in the project names to jump to a summary of each.
According to the White House, meeting the new goal of 30 GW of offshore wind capacity would trigger over $12 billion a year in capital investment, more than 44,000 jobs in the sector by 2030, and 33,000 other roles connected to the industry.
Scaling up training capacity can provide new job opportunities and increase productivity through the recognition of Global Wind Organization (GWO) standards.
US offshore wind jobs in demand
A new generation of professionals can be required due to technological advances. But there are also some transferrable skills, especially from Oil & Gas, which can give access to the offshore wind sector.
Currently, there is a lot of demand for the following roles and skillsets.
Construction Engineer Offshore Installation Manager Cable Design Engineer Cable Systems Engineer Project Manager Commissioning Manager
Looking for your next wind energy job? If you can fit any of these roles, please, contact us.
5 US offshore wind projects
1. Vineyard Wind 1
This is the first utility-scale offshore wind energy project in the United States, over 15 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. The project has recently obtained federal approval for construction, and the development of 800MW of installed capacity will kickstart a new industry in Southeastern Massachusetts.
Vineyard Wind 1 will reduce carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year and create thousands of local full-time equivalent jobs over the life of the project, starting with in-state construction in 2021.
With 84 offshore wind turbines and an investment of over $3bn, it is the biggest wind farm currently under development in the USA.
Vineyard Wind 1 will generate electricity of about 2GW of wind power, enough to meet the demand of more than 400,000 homes and businesses throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
2. Ocean Wind
Ocean Wind has proposed an offshore wind project utility-scale with a total capacity of 1,100 megawatts (MW) — enough to power 500,000 homes across New Jersey. Located near Atlantic City, in New Jersey, the wind energy area is about 16km off the coast and has an average water depth of 24m.
Ocean Wind will provide more than half a million homes in New Jersey with clean, reliable energy. It is being developed by Ørsted in conjunction with Public Service Enterprise Group (PSE&G) and the commercial operations are expected by the end of 2024.
BOEM is announcing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Ocean Wind Offshore Wind Project, putting it in line to become America’s third commercial-scale offshore wind project.
3. South Fork Wind
This wind farm will be the first to connect in New York State and help the Town of East Hampton meet its 100% renewable energy goal. With 15 turbines and a state-of-the-art transmission system, the project will generate enough clean energy to power 70,000 average homes and offset tons of emissions each year.
South Fork Wind is a 50/50 partnership between Ørsted – the global leader in offshore wind – and Eversource, a national energy leader with homegrown expertise in regional energy transmission. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2023
4. Revolution Wind
Revolution Wind is a combined offshore wind energy and storage project off the coast of Massachusetts. The wind farm will be built adjacent to the South Fork Wind Farm that is being built to supply power to New York and will be in the same lease area.
The project will combine a hydroelectric pumped storage system with a "first-of-its-kind offshore transmission backbone." The project will supply 400MW to Rhode Island and 304 MW to Connecticut.
Construction could begin as early as 2023. Revolution Wind is also a 50/50 partnership between Ørsted and Eversource.
5. Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Farm
The project is a development of an offshore wind area in the federal waters of New Jersey with a potential capacity of 2.5GW. It is strategically positioned to meet the growing demands of renewable energy targets in multiple east coast markets.
The Atlantic Shores site covers an area some 14 to 32 kilometres off the New Jersey coast, between Barnegat Light and Atlantic City. The water depths at the site range from 18 to 30 metres, and it is expected that the project begins delivering electricity in 2027.
Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind is a 50:50 joint venture between Shell New Energies and EDF Renewables North America.
A banner year from wind in the US
Despite all the challenges COVID-19 placed on the businesses, 2020 was a banner year from wind in the US.
The industry had its strongest year ever, nearly doubling installations from the prior year to reach a record high. Now, the country has about 122,468MW of operating wind energy capacity, enough to power about 38 million homes.
Airswift can help you deliver offshore wind projects
Airswift is committed to supporting the energy transition. From our offices in the United States, we connect international talent to the biggest wind energy projects. The industry is changing, and we understand the challenges facing the sector
With over 60 offices worldwide, 800 employees, and 7,000 contractors, we have successfully placed both permanent and contract personnel across a wide range of offshore wind energy disciplines.
Our dedicated team of consultants are able to support clients throughout the whole offshore wind project lifecycle.
This includes the areas of cable engineering, offshore installation, fabrication and inspection, commissioning and O&M. If you are looking for wind energy talent, contact us.