In June 2022, US President Joe Biden joined East Coast governors to launch the partnership, with eleven states working alongside the Administration to maximise the benefits of Atlantic offshore wind development for workers and communities.
As a first step, the White House and the governors announced commitments to collaborate on expanding key elements of the offshore wind supply chain, from manufacturing facilities to port capabilities to workforce development. The Biden-Hartis Administration also announced steps to advance a National Offshore Wind Supply Chain Roadmap and designate offshore wind vessels as Vessels of National Interest to facilitate more offshore wind construction.
California and Louisiana now joined the initiative shortly after the first-ever floating offshore wind auction was held on the Pacific Coast and the first-ever lease sale was announced for the Gulf of Mexico, bringing the number of states within the partnership to 13.
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) completed the lease sale offshore California at the beginning of December 2022. The auction, the first-ever on the Pacific Coast and the first-ever organised for floating wind projects, brought in USD 757.1 million to the US Treasury from the winning bids for the five lease areas.
The project capacities are well beyond those originally estimated and almost double the expected total capacity of 4.5 GW with at least 8.1 GW of floating wind likely to be installed.
For the waters offshore Louisiana, a lease sale is coming up soon as BOEM just announced the issuance of a Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) to gather initial input. The time and date of the lease sale itself will be made known once BOEM published the Final Sale Notice (FSN).
BOEM will auction off three areas in the Gulf of Mexico, one offshore Lake Charles in Louisiana and two offshore Galveston in Texas.
California and Louisiana are also leading the efforts to install offshore wind turbines on the West Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico from a state level.
In August last year, California adopted increased offshore wind targets after Governor Gavin Newsom called for the state’s offshore wind target for 2045 to be raised to at least 20 GW.
The state now aims at having 2-5 GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2030 and up to 25 GW installed by 2045.
Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana was the first state in that region to set an offshore wind target and to start actively working on bringing offshore wind generation capacity to its grid.
At the beginning of last year, Louisiana set a target of 5 GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2035 in its first-ever Climate Action Plan. The plan also set requirements for strategic collaboration across Louisiana’s state agencies and the federal government, transmission planning agencies, energy regulators, utilities, and the private sector to take additional steps to advance the development of offshore wind power generation.
In a press release issued on 22 February, the White House also noted the two states’ efforts to lead offshore wind development in their respective regions.
“California Governor Gavin Newsom and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards have been leaders on seizing clean energy opportunities that create good-paying jobs, lower costs for families, and reduce climate pollution”, the White House stated.
After joining the federal-state partnership, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom said: “We’re in the midst of a clean energy revolution, and ramping up the development of offshore wind energy will help move our state off dirty fossil fuels. Thanks to the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, offshore wind energy has gone from a distant pipedream to a burgeoning reality”.
“With this new federal Partnership, California will continue spearheading efforts to bring offshore wind energy to the West Coast while creating thousands of good jobs and tackling the climate crisis”.