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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The White House rolled out initiatives Monday aimed at jump-starting the development of large offshore wind farms that together would power over 10 million homes.

Why it matters: The target of 30 gigawatts of generating capacity by 2030 would go well beyond the big projects already on the drawing boards.

  • Research firm BloombergNEF currently forecasts that the U.S. will have 19.64 gigawatts of offshore wind power capacity in 2030.
  • U.S. offshore wind is a massive resource. But it remains in its very early stages in the U.S. compared to Europe, with no big commercial-scale projects yet in operation.

Some of the steps announced Monday:

  • Plans for more Interior Department offshore wind lease auctions, including as soon as later this year for a region off the New York and New Jersey coasts.
  • Launching a formal environmental study of a project that Danish wind giant Ørsted hopes to build off New Jersey, which is a step toward permitting the plan.
  • Using Transportation and Energy Department funding to spur development, such as inviting ports to apply for $230 million for infrastructure projects to support the sector.
  • New R&D and analytical efforts, including a data-sharing agreement between Ørsted and the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The big picture: The efforts come as the Biden administration is looking to emphasize the job potential of its climate and renewable energy goals — and arguing they extend well beyond the coasts.

  • A White House summary of the efforts says developing U.S. coastal projects will "spawn new supply chains that stretch into America’s heartland," such as domestically produced steel.
  • Overall, the summary claims that meeting the development target would mean 44,000 workers with offshore wind jobs in 2030, and another 33,000 jobs in areas "supported" by that activity.

Between the lines: Huge energy companies like Equinor, Shell and BP, Portugal's EDP and others are already involved in various partnerships for U.S. projects.

  • Earlier in March, the Interior Department completed its review of Vineyard Wind, which is proposed for construction off Massachusetts that's likely to be the first big U.S. project completed.
  • The 800-megawatt project is a joint venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables, an arm of Spanish power giant Iberdrola.

Go deeper

Mar 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Progressives try to sell climate spending with jobs pitch

John Podesta. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Progressives are trying to sell President Biden's infrastructure initiative with new cable TV ads arguing clean energy projects will immediately create thousands of jobs.

Why it matters: White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested Sunday that Biden will split his potential $3 trillion package in two — investments in infrastructure, followed by billions more for the “caregiving economy.” The first political fight may be over what qualifies as infrastructure.

White House nominates Rick Spinrad as NOAA leader

In this NOAA GOES-East satellite handout image, Hurricane Dorian, a Cat. 4 storm, moves slowly past Grand Bahama Island on September 2, 2019. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)

The White House on Thursday evening nominated Rick Spinrad, an oceanographer at Oregon State University, to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Why it matters: Filling the NOAA slot would complete the Biden administration's leadership on the climate and environment team. The agency, located within the Commerce Department, houses the National Weather Service and conducts much of the nation's climate science research.

3 hours ago - World

Israeli officials will object to restoration of Iran deal in D.C. visit

Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the delegation traveling to Washington, D.C. next week for strategic talks on Iran to stress their objection to a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal and to refuse to discuss its contents, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: That position is similar to the one Israel took in the year before the 2015 nuclear deal was announced, which led to a rift between the Israeli government and the Obama administration. History could now repeat itself.

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