Delaware senators urge Biden to maximize offshore wind

July 11, 2023

The following letter was sent to President Joe Biden. 

We are grateful for your commitment to rapidly deploying clean energy, and your stated goals of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, and 15 GW of floating offshore wind by 2035. However, meeting these goals requires a coordinated strategy to resolve conflicts between agencies and maximize the availability of leasing. We urge you to designate a policy lead who can work to resolve existing use conflicts, and ensure that projects remain viable and on track.

For example, within the Central Atlantic, Maryland recently more than quadrupled its offshore wind target from 2 GW to 8.5 GW of offshore wind energy by 2031. Virginia is targeting 5.2 GW of offshore wind by 2032, North Carolina is planning to build out 8 GW of offshore wind energy by 2040, and Delaware could soon have a target of its own. Also, New Jersey recently increased its offshore wind target to 11 GW and is expected to look south to new Central Atlantic lease areas to satisfy some of that demand. All of these efforts will help achieve our renewable energy goals. 

The Central Atlantic region is attracting billions of dollars in investments toward the offshore wind industry supply chain, which is still in its nascent stage. In order to meet our offshore wind commitments and domestic content goals, we’ll need a strong project pipeline in place, including for workforce training, manufacturing and construction.

Congress sent a clear message of support for renewable energy development with the passage of the tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act for offshore wind manufacturing, investments and electricity production. As we work with you to diversify our nation’s renewable energy portfolio and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we urge you to consider a sustainable deployment strategy that supports national security, environmental, navigational safety and fishing priorities of all engaged stakeholders.

BOEM has to balance these competing priorities in determining the number and size of leases. Agencies must weigh in early in the BOEM leasing process so that competing priorities do not unnecessarily limit the potential number and sizes of leases and render potential lease sites uneconomical. We understand that there are operational challenges across agencies and legitimate shared ocean-use needs beyond offshore wind. Therefore, we encourage the White House to take a more active role in facilitating interagency negotiations so that offshore wind energy acreage is maximized, while environmental and community impacts are minimized, if they cannot be altogether avoided.

We appreciate the recent additions to the White House Climate Policy Office and your focus on clean energy infrastructure as your administration implements the IRA. Given the complex balance that must be struck between ocean-use priorities, we urge you to convene BOEM, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, and other relevant federal agencies, with the objective of identifying adequate acreage within the Central Atlantic Call Areas to meet current and future state goals and supply chain needs. Offshore wind energy provides a source of clean electricity that increases our energy security, helps fight the climate crisis, and creates tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for American workers.

We stand ready to support ocean co-use strategies and urge you to prioritize collaboration as you consider new lease areas in the Central Atlantic. 

This letter was signed by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware; Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware; Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland; Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Delaware; Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia; Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia; Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts; and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island. 
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