Wind energy executives are skeptical of the Biden administration’s plan to significantly expand offshore wind power in the next several years due to rising costs and the slow permitting of offshore leases, according to the Financial Times.
The Biden administration aims to grow U.S. offshore wind generation from less than 1 gigawatt currently to 30 gigawatts by the end of 2030 as part of its aggressive green energy transition, according to a White House fact sheet. However, wind executives are concerned that the administration’s target is too ambitious as projects are constantly delayed by a permitting bottleneck and expensive leases, the FT reported.
“If there continues to be significant delays and projects that are already in the pipeline getting pushed back — then it will be more difficult to meet that 30 by 30 target,” Molly Morris, incoming U.S. offshore wind chief at Norwegian energy firm Equinor, told the FT.
Various energy projects including offshore wind developments face difficulties in receiving correct permitting from the government, which delays construction and increases costs, according to the FT. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia proposed a permitting bill in September that could have accelerated the federal permitting of key wind, solar and fossil fuel projects; however, the measure was pulled from a recent government funding bill after it failed to gain sufficient support in the Senate.
“Our concern is that this could end up being a very difficult bottleneck,” Morris said. “If we don’t get these projects that are in the forefront . . . permitted, then it’s very difficult to really get this industry off the ground.”
Manchin’s bill would have also given the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) more power to expedite the permitting of transmission lines that transport electricity produced by offshore wind and other renewables to urban areas. Roughly 77 gigawatts of offshore wind are awaiting transmission, according to the Department of Energy’s August wind energy report.
Executives also claim prices of federal leases for offshore wind developments are too high, which makes it difficult for wind developers to make profits, the FT reported. The federal New York Bight offshore wind auction, which offered six lease areas totaling over 488,000 acres, received $4.37 billion total in winning bids, representing the nation’s highest-grossing competitive offshore energy lease sale in history, according to an Interior Department press release.
Inflation is a further concern for wind firms and their equipment manufacturers as the cost of materials continues to rise, according to the FT.
The White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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