The Biden administration is seeking to develop additional offshore wind energy in deeper waters and will auction off leases to spur such energy development by the end of the year.
Typically, offshore wind turbines are attached to the sea floor in shallower waters, but the administration announced on Thursday that it will also pursue lease sales in deeper waters that rely on floating platforms to hold up the turbines.
The administration set a new goal of hitting 15 gigawatts of this floating offshore wind — which it says would produce enough energy to power more than 5 million U.S. homes — by the year 2035.
It estimated that this will prevent 26 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year. That’s the equivalent of the emissions from nearly 26 coal-fired power plants.
The administration also has a separate goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind in general — which may or may not include floating offshore wind — by 2030.
“Floating wind has incredible potential. It can establish the United States as a global leader in advancing new technology, and thus new projects and it can help us achieve our climate and economic goals,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told reporters on Thursday.
The administration will auction off rights to build turbines in deeper waters off the coast of California by the end of this year. A White House fact sheet also identified Oregon and the Gulf of Maine as locations for potential future development.
In support of the effort, the Energy Department is announcing nearly $50 million for research, development and demonstration. The Energy Department said that it hopes to bring down the cost of floating offshore wind technology by more than 70 percent by 2035.