Biden Harris Administration Advances Offshore Wind in the Central Atlantic

Sub title
Departments of the Interior, Defense, Commerce will continue collaboration to develop wind energy off the coast of Maryland
Release Date
Washington, DC

Today, members of the Biden-Harris administration, including the Department of the Interior, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Coast Guard and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Maryland Governor Wes Moore announced a commitment to work jointly to evaluate additional areas off Maryland’s shores that could become wind energy areas (WEAs) and support the development of offshore wind projects. 

The Biden-Harris administration and the State of Maryland will collaborate in advancing review of additional areas that could support the goals of Maryland’s Promoting Offshore Wind Energy Resources Act, including consideration of how federal and state efforts could address any mitigation needed to address existing offshore activities. These efforts are part of the Biden-Harris administration’s broader efforts to create thousands of good-paying jobs by growing the American offshore wind industry, with significant progress being made toward the goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 while unlocking additional opportunities for decades to come.  

This announcement follows the Department of the Interior’s release of a proposed sale notice (PSN) to conduct an offshore wind lease sale in mid-2024 of nearly 278,000 acres in the Central Atlantic that could result in enough clean energy to power over 2.2 million homes. The PSN does not include WEA B-1, an area identified for potential leasing in July 2023. An in-depth review of WEA B-1 determined that, given the significant costs and mitigation that would be required, advancing wind energy development in WEA B-1 at this time was not viable. 

The Administration has preliminarily identified acreage off Maryland’s coast of a similar size and wind energy generation capacity to B-1. This area will be analyzed more fully and collaboratively by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the State of Maryland, federal agencies and other stakeholders as a potential WEA, along with additional potential offshore wind areas all along the Central Atlantic coastline, for inclusion in a subsequent offshore wind lease sale as early as 2025.

This joint work builds on the ongoing work of the Central Atlantic Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, which includes Tribal, federal, state, and local government officials. BOEM will continue to extensively engage government partners, local residents, ocean users, and other members of the public, consistent with process improvements announced last year to advance BOEM’s commitment to meaningful and transparent engagement and use of best available science and modeling to inform decisions on wind energy development. Additionally, through the Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership launched by President Biden, this September the Administration announced an MOU between federal agencies and East Coast states on Offshore Wind Supply Chain Collaboration, which includes work to develop a shared timeline on federal leasing and state procurement to facilitate alignment where possible between these schedules. 

“The Biden-Harris administration is working hand in hand with our state partners nationwide to build a new American offshore wind industry, cut energy costs for families, and create thousands of good-paying jobs, all while tackling the climate crisis,” said President Biden’s National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi. “Thanks to the leadership of Senators Van Hollen and Cardin and Governor Moore, the future of Maryland’s offshore wind industry is bright. The Biden-Harris administration will continue to use every available tool to ensure American workers and communities reap the economic and environmental benefits of this growing industry in Maryland and across the country.

“The power and promise of a clean energy future is undeniable. We join Maryland leaders in our enthusiasm for the potential for wind energy offshore Maryland and are committed to ongoing collaboration with federal and state partners, community leaders and ocean users to ensure that we are pursuing a solution that meets the moment,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein.

“The Department of Defense is committed to protecting American national security interests, which includes reducing reliance on foreign energy sources and expanding domestic offshore wind energy development. The Department has been an active participant in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s efforts to find the best locations for offshore development in the Central Atlantic and we look forward to the continued collaboration on this critical issue,” said Dr. Radha Plumb, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.

“As we work together on our mutual goal of promoting clean energy while supporting healthy oceans and the communities and businesses that rely on them, NOAA looks forward to collaborating closely with the State of Maryland and BOEM to examine potential additional areas suitable for offshore wind,” said Janet Coit, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries.

“NASA is committed to working with our government partners and state leaders to expand renewable energy” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Developing new wind energy areas will provide clean energy for millions of homes and businesses while boosting American innovation. The time to address the climate crisis is now – and NASA will continue its work to improve life on Earth.”

“Offshore wind energy is a valuable alternative to fossil fuels, and expanding these projects puts us on the right track in achieving our clean energy goals,” said Senator Ben Cardin. “Together, with the support of the Biden-Harris administration, we have greater opportunity to advance new offshore wind projects, create good-paying jobs and position Maryland to lead the offshore wind industry.” 

“After a series of meetings and much dialogue with Biden Administration and key stakeholders, I am pleased that we have reached an agreement on offshore wind leasing in the Central Atlantic that ensures Maryland can continue to make progress toward meeting our wind energy deployment goals, while protecting key national security and navigational safety priorities in these waters. Critically, we have worked with the Administration to identify additional areas to consider for wind development and secured their commitment to hold a second round of offshore wind lease sales in 2025. While there’s more work to do, this agreement is an important step toward increasing our energy security, fighting the climate crisis, and creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for American workers,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen.

“We have made it clear that we are going to work to ensure that Maryland accelerates its growth in the clean energy economy, and we are committed to reaching our goal of creating 8.5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy. Making Maryland the leader in generating clean, renewable wind energy for the whole region will require bringing everyone to the table, said Governor Wes Moore. “I appreciate the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to working with us to responsibly open areas for offshore wind that will help us meet our long-term goals. I look forward to our continued partnership with our federal and industry partners to help not only Maryland reach its goals, but to help the country reach its goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.”

-- BOEM --

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for America’s offshore energy and mineral resources. The bureau promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible, science-based management of energy and mineral resources on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.