Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
AP

Biden teams with East Coast governors to boost offshore wind

  • Updated
  • 0

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Thursday launched a formal partnership with 11 East Coast governors to boost the growing offshore wind industry, a key element of President Joe Biden's plan for climate change.

Biden, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and other top administration officials met with governors, wind industry officials and labor leaders Thursday at the White House. The session focused on ways to expand important segments of the offshore industry, including manufacturing facilities, ports and workforce training and development.

“Together we’re stepping up. We’re about to build a better America,'' Biden said. “It's not just about the future. It’s about right now.''

The partnership comprises governors of both parties from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Missing from the compact is Virginia, where Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has moved to withdraw the state from a regional carbon-limiting initiative meant to combat climate change.

Spokesman Macaulay Porter said Youngkin supports the offshore wind industry, and his administration has participated in calls with the White House on the topic.

“The commonwealth is already a leader in the offshore wind industry, and the Youngkin administration is focused on ... this emerging sector in a way that is consistent with promoting jobs for Virginia and its right-to-work philosophy,'' Porter said, referring to a state policy that promotes a worker’s right not to be required to join a labor union.

Youngkin is “fully committed to Virginia’s current offshore wind project" and will continue to support any future project "that meets Virginia’s economic needs and protects ratepayers from high energy costs,'' Porter said.

In working with states and the private sector, the White House said it will “provide Americans with cleaner and cheaper energy, create good-paying jobs and invest billions in new American energy supply chains,'' including construction of wind turbines, shipbuilding and servicing.

Biden has set a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, enough to provide electricity to 10 million homes, support 77,000 jobs and spur $12 billion per year in private investment in offshore wind. Offshore wind is a key component in the Democratic president's plan to make the nation’s electric grid carbon free by 2035.

The Biden administration has approved two large-scale wind projects, Vineyard Wind in Massachusetts and South Fork Wind off New York and Rhode Island. Both are under construction with union labor. The Interior Department has begun reviews of another 10 offshore projects that, if approved, would produce 22 gigawatts of clean energy.

Danish wind developer Orsted signed a project labor agreement last month with a national union representing 3 million people in the building trades to construct the company’s U.S. offshore wind farms with an American union workforce. Orsted currently has six offshore projects in five states.

A national agreement signed with North America’s Building Trades Unions covers contractors working on those projects and future ones, with no termination date on the project labor agreement. It sets the terms and conditions for union workers to build offshore wind farms, with targets to ensure a diverse workforce. It contains provisions for training to ensure they can construct the complex infrastructure, which costs billions of dollars.

“We recognize that states are huge players here,'' said David Hayes, a White House climate adviser. With a formal partnership, the Biden administration can “work with the governors on policies going forward and help ensure that there is an American-made supply chain for this brand-new industry,'' Hayes said.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he and other East Coast governors “are united with our regional and federal partners not just by geography but by a shared commitment to clean and affordable energy, economic opportunity and a future in which all community members are shielded from the worsening impacts of climate change.''

The federal-state collaboration comes as the Biden administration has announced a plan to conduct up to seven offshore wind auctions by 2025, including one held last month off North Carolina and earlier this year in a coastal area known as the New York Bight. Other sales are expected in the Gulf of Maine, the central Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as offshore in California and Oregon.

Environmental and clean energy groups hailed the federal-state collaboration.

“Today, there are just seven offshore wind turbines in the United States, and we’re going to need a lot more, done responsibly, to meet our clean energy goals,'' said Diane Hoskins, campaign director for the conservation group Oceana. She called for "strong safeguards for marine life to avoid, minimize and mitigate the impacts of offshore wind.''

Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association, an industry group, said wind energy developers support the federal-state initiative. “Clear and predictable permitting for offshore wind is essential to recognizing its potential, and there is still work to do,'' Zichal said.


Associated Press writers Aamer Madhani in Washington and Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Va., contributed to this story.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

0 Comments

Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Katie Britt has won the Republican nomination for Senate in Alabama, defeating six-term Congressman Mo Brooks in a primary runoff after former President Donald Trump endorsed and then un-endorsed him. The loss ends a turbulent campaign for Brooks, a conservative firebrand who had fully embraced Trump’s election lies and had run under the banner “MAGA Mo.” But it wasn’t enough for the former president, who initially backed Brooks in the race to replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, but then rescinded his support as Brooks languished in the polls. Trump eventually endorsed Britt in the race’s final stretch after she emerged as the top vote-getter in the state’s May 24 primary.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser appears to be on her way to winning a third consecutive term leading the nation’s capital. Bowser’s victory in Tuesday’s Democratic primary virtually guarantees her a win in November in the Democrat-dominated District of Columbia. Two members of the City Council had challenged her bid for another four-year term. At-large Councilmember Robert White harshly criticized Bowser’s response to spiraling violent crime rates, and Councilmember Trayon White brought a unique perspective as the representative of the district’s poorest and most crime-ridden area. Challenges facing the city and its government remain for the victorious Bowser, among them issues of inequality, crime and public safety.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sought to reassure the public that the Fed will raise interest rates high and fast enough to quell inflation, without tightening credit so much as to throttle the economy and cause a recession. Testifying to the Senate Banking Committee, Powell faced skeptical questions about the Fed’s ability to tame inflation, which has surged to the top of Americans’ concerns as congressional elections near. Democrats wondered whether the Fed’s accelerated rate hikes will succeed in curbing inflation or might instead just tip the economy into a downturn. Several Republicans charged that the Powell Fed had moved too slowly to begin raising rates and now must speed up its hikes.

The House Jan. 6 committee has heard chilling, tearful testimony that Donald Trump’s relentless pressure to overturn the 2020 presidential election led to widespread threats against local workers and state officials. The panel focused Tuesday on the “heroes” of democracy — election workers and officials who fended off the defeated president’s demands. The committee is focused on Trump's schemes to reject state tallies and electors, all fueled by his false claims of election fraud. It heard from Arizona’s Republican state House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger about pressure from Trump, including Trump’s call asking the Georgia official to “find 11,780” votes to prevent Joe Biden’s victory.

Ukraine's leader has told the African Union that the continent has been "taken hostage” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid catastrophically rising food prices. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's closed-door speech Monday followed weeks of requests for him to address African nations. Many of them retain close ties to Russia and failed to support a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning the invasion. Ukraine and the West hope to weaken those ties by emphasizing that Russia’s actions are to blame for dramatic shortages of wheat and edible oils and skyrocketing food and fuel prices across Africa.

Lithuania is defending its decision to bar rail transit from Russia to a Russian Baltic Sea exclave of goods hit by European Union sanctions, in a move that drew Moscow’s strong anger amid high tensions in the region. The country's foreign minister said Lithuania was simply implementing sanctions imposed by the EU, of which it is a member. He said the measures were taken after “consultation with the European Commission and under its guidelines.” The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said Lithuania did not take any unilateral national restrictions and denied that land transit between Kaliningrad and other parts of Russia had been stopped, or banned.

The FBI says a U.S. Naval reservist charged with storming the U.S. Capitol told an undercover agent he went there with members of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group. Court records show Hatchet Speed was arrested Wednesday in Virginia on misdemeanor charges stemming from the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Speed was assigned to the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates U.S. spy satellites. The FBI says video captured Speed entering the Capitol through the Senate Wing Doors and exiting the building through a window more than 40 minutes later. Court records don’t list a defense attorney for Speed, who's scheduled to appear in court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

President Joe Biden has signed off on giving federal wildland firefighters a hefty raise for the next two fiscal years. The move announced Tuesday affects more than 16,000 firefighters and comes as much of the West braces for a difficult wildfire season. Pay raises for the federal firefighters had been included in last year’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill, but they had been held up as administration officials studied recruitment and retention data to decide where to deliver them. Agencies are authorized to increase the base salary of federal wildland firefighters by $20,000 per year or 50% of their current base salary, whichever is lower.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alert