Liz Burdock, Executive Director, Business Network for Offshore Wind
Because the U.S. President has pulled out of the Paris Agreement, spoken out against the Clean Power Plan, and supported coal power plants, there are concerns in the renewable energy community that two key federal energy agencies—Department of Interior and Department of Energy—might also be unwilling to support the offshore wind industry. Fortunately, that is not the case.
In our experience, the professionals in these agencies have continued to do their jobs just as they did during the previous administration, and they are doing all they can to help offshore wind achieve its potential of providing gigawatts of clean power and thousands of good jobs.
For example, we at the Business Network for Offshore Wind (the Network) are working very closely with National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), under the Department of Energy, to help develop a set of national standards for the U.S. offshore wind industry. In fact, we are hosting an important day-long meeting of the five offshore wind standards working groups at our upcoming International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum (IPF) on April 3.
The DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) has supported our industry in a number of ways, including several published major reports on national strategies and market conditions for offshore wind. They have allocated approximately $200 million since 2011 for offshore wind research, development and demonstration projects.
On the Interior side, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has been active in holding 13 auctions for offshore wind energy leases off of our Atlantic coastline, and they supervise the process of offshore wind developers as they submit their plans for building offshore wind farms on the Outer Continental Shelf. The BOEM team runs a number of state task forces on offshore wind to coordinate activities between state and federal agencies and other interested groups.
BOEM will also give a number of presentations at the IPF, including an update on where the U.S. offshore market is headed, titled the “Atlantic Path Forward” on April 6. And we may hear from another Department of Interior VIP later that morning who might surprise some energy policy followers.
The bottom line for us is, these agencies have been good partners and active participants in the U.S. offshore wind industry, and we hope they can continue to stay involved and support us as we take some major steps forward this year.