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U.S. Updates Offshore Wind Energy Regulations to Meet Climate Target

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Chris Lim (CC BY-SA 2.0)

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced that it will be revising its regulations for the development of wind energy facilities on the outer continental shelf, in order to assist in achieving important climate objectives. The proposed changes in regulations are expected to save wind energy developers around $1 billion over a period of 20 years, through simplifying onerous procedures, making ambiguous provisions more clear and reducing compliance costs, as per the statement. The announcement of the reforms come shortly after the appointment of Elizabeth Klein, a lawyer who has served in both the Obama and Clinton Administration, as the head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which oversees offshore oil, gas, and wind development.

In September 2020, the Biden Administration set a target to achieve 15 GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2035, in order to expedite the development of advanced floating wind farms, in accordance with its aim to authorize 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

The proposed changes to regulations for the development of wind energy facilities on the outer continental shelf were announced by the U.S. Department of the Interior, soon after the appointment of Elizabeth Klein as the head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which oversees offshore oil, gas, and wind development. Klein is a lawyer who has worked in both the Obama and Clinton Administrations. As part of its offshore clean energy program, BOEM has approved the first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects in the United States, held three lease auctions, including the first-ever sale off the coast of California, and is exploring opportunities to expand offshore wind to other areas such as the Gulf of Mexico. The department plans to hold as many as four more auctions and evaluate at least 16 new commercial facilities by 2025, which will add more than 22 GW of renewable energy.

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