Photo: Michael Dwyer
President Donald Trump has courted coal miners and cast doubt on whether fossil fuels contribute to climate change, but that hasn’t translated into hostility for renewable energy — particularly offshore wind.
Using federal offshore leases, wind power projects along the East Coast, including off the shores of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia and New York, are pressing ahead with the goal of transforming the electric grid and providing energy to power millions of homes.
The administration is looking to renewable energy sources to help create “energy dominance” that will guarantee America is a leading global energy exporter and can’t be held hostage by foreign energy-producing powers, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says.
“On designated federal lands and offshore, this means an equal opportunity for all sources of responsible energy development, from fossil fuels to the full range of renewables,” Zinke said in a recent op-ed in The Boston Globe. “As we look to the future, wind energy — particularly offshore wind — will play a greater role in sustaining American energy dominance.”
To help streamline the effort, Zinke wrote, he wants to give developers more flexibility by letting them postpone detailed design decisions until later in the planning process to let them take advantage of the latest technology.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for more projects and said the state will solicit in 2018 and in 2019 a combined total of at least 800 megawatts — with a long-term goal of developing 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, enough to power up to 1.2 million homes.
In New Jersey, the Danish offshore wind company Orsted, which is also working on projects in Massachusetts and Virginia, has set a goal of supplying enough energy for 1.5 million homes.