Updated Nov 25, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Biden administration approves second major offshore wind project

A bird flies over a wind turbine at a wind farm near Highway 12 in Rio Vista, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 30

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Image

The Biden administration approved Wednesday plans for a major offshore wind farm to supply power to New York.

Why it matters: The approval for the installation of a dozen turbines near Rhode Island marks a major step in the administration's goal of reaching 30 gigawatts of offshore wind-generating capacity in U.S. waters by 2030, powering more than 10 million homes.

Details: The 130-megawatt South Fork Wind project will be the first wind farm to supply power to New York, transmitting power to Long Island, the Washington Post notes.

The big picture: The green light for the South Fork Wind project marks the second commercial-scale offshore wind farm approved by the Biden administration after the Vineyard Wind, which is under construction off the Massachusetts coast.

  • The Biden administration plans to identify and lease federal waters along seven coastal areas to offshore wind power developers by 2025.

Yes, but: Officials have to overcome conservationists' worries about the wind farms' effect on endangered whales, people in the fishing industry's concerns about their catch and coastal homeowner trepidations about their sea views, per WashPost.

Meanwhile, a $1.75 trillion social spending and climate bill passed by House Democrats earlier this month, which includes over $300 billion in clean energy tax incentives for projects such as the erection of wind turbines, faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

  • Changes to the bill are likely, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) among those expressing concern at some aspects of the measure, Axios' Ben Geman writes.

What they're saying: Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement there's "no time to waste in cultivating and investing in a clean energy economy that can sustain us for generations."

  • "Just one year ago, there were no large-scale offshore wind projects approved in the federal waters of the United States. Today there are two, with several more on the horizon," she added.
  • New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said in a statement that the state is "facing the challenges of climate change head-on" with such action.
  • "Our nation-leading climate and offshore wind goals demand bold action and moving South Fork Wind forward brings us closer to a cleaner and greener future," she said.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Hochul.

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