The Biden administration on Monday announced it will designate an area between the South Shore of Long Island and the New Jersey coast as a priority offshore wind zone, in an effort to accelerate a burgeoning industry that has long struggled to gain a foothold in the United States.
The move, which affects an area known as the New York Bight, come as President Biden prepares an approximately $3 trillion economic recovery package that rests heavily on the construction of electric vehicle charging stations, improved power grids and other infrastructure key to cutting planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. Officials also announced $3 billion in loan guarantees available to offshore wind projects.
Separately, the White House is setting a goal of deploying 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind in the United States by 2030 — a goal it claimed will create about 75,000 jobs — and devoting funding already approved by Congress to port infrastructure and transmission development.
Republicans said they were skeptical of Mr. Biden’s promise of millions of “green jobs” and have criticized his earlier moves to suspend new oil and gas leases and revoke permits for the Keystone XL pipeline as responsible for killing well-paying jobs in their states.
The White House on Monday said the offshore wind plan would avoid 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Officials estimate it will create 44,000 jobs directly in the offshore wind sector, like building and installing turbines, and 33,000 indirect jobs.
“We have an enormous opportunity in front of us to not only address the threats of climate change, but use it as a chance to create millions of good-paying, union jobs,” Gina McCarthy, the White House national climate adviser, said in a statement.
She called offshore wind a “new, untapped industry” that “will create pathways to the middle class for people from all backgrounds.”
Last month the Biden administration took a key step in approving the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm, off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts — a project that stagnated under the Trump administration. The proposal for 84 large turbines with 800 megawatts of electric generating capacity is slated to come online by 2023.
Vineyard Wind is one of 13 offshore wind projects proposed along the East Coast, and the Interior Department has estimated that as many as 2,000 turbines could be rotating in the Atlantic Ocean by 2030.