This article will discuss wind energy in America and investigate the ambitions & strategy, and challenges behind wind energy. It will also shed light on the key players and the projects of interest. Wind energy is an indirect way to reduce carbon emissions, and it will be crucial in America's quest to attain net zero by 2050.
Ambition & Strategy
On 29 March 2023, The Department of Energy released its offshore wind energy strategy, and it plans to deploy 30 Gigawatt of offshore wind energy by 2030 and 110 Gigawatt or more by 2050.
The offshore wind energy strategic initiatives:
- Near-Term Offshore Wind (NOW): Reduce the cost of fixed-bottom offshore wind from $73 per megawatt hour to $51 by 2030. Support the development of a supply chain to deploy 30 Gigawatt of fixed-bottom offshore wind.
- Floating Offshore Wind Accelerated Research and Development (FORWARD): Reduce floating offshore wind by 70 per cent to $45 Megawatt per hour by 2035. Support the development of a supply chain to deploy 15 Gigawatt of floating wind by 2035.
- CONNECT: Integrate offshore wind energy with the US electric grid and support technological innovation to enhance grid reliability, resilience, and interoperability.
- TRANSFORM: Promote storage and wind-to-fuel technologies from offshore wind energy. Support the development of offshore wind energy hubs.
- Wind power has to compete with other low-cost energy sources such as solar. It may not be cost-competitive in areas which are not windy enough. It can be addressed through investment in next-generation technology, enhancing manufacturing capability, and improved understanding of wind energy plants.
- Ideal wind sites are frequently located in remote areas, presenting installation challenges. However, this can be resolved by enhancing the transmission system and grid interconnection capabilities, thereby facilitating the efficient integration of wind power into the broader energy infrastructure.
- Addressing concerns related to wind turbines is crucial as they produce considerable noise and have the potential to alter visual aesthetics.
- Wind plants can impact wildlife and can be tackled through technological advancement and by minimising the impact of wind turbines on wildlife.
- Wind Energy Areas off Every Coast: Promoting wind lease sales through the Department of Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Investing in Workers & Communities: Training American workforce for offshore wind industry through Department of Energy and Department of Commerce.
- Made in America Supply Chains: The Department of Energy promotes domestic production through manufacturing tax credits, a loan program office, and an advanced materials and manufacturing technologies office.
- Responsible & Efficient Permitting: Pushing for wind energy permits through reforms in the approval process and the Biden administration’s permitting action plan is intended to bring together federal agencies, White House offices, and Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council.
- Transmission Planning & Buildout: Supporting infrastructure projects through the Atlantic Offshore wind transmission plan and West Coast offshore wind transmission study.
- Port Infrastructure Upgrades: Port infrastructure development program investing $100 million for port projects advancing wind offshore deployment.
- Floating Offshore Wind Targets: By 2035, the Department of Energy's floating offshore wind shot goal is to achieve a 70 per cent cost reduction. The department is also promoting foundational science and prize competitions to push for breakthroughs in technological development.
- Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership: Bringing together governors to maximise the benefits of offshore wind for workers and communities.
- Innovation & Research: The Department of Energy partners with other agencies and supports next-generation wind energy technologies.
- Cross-Cutting Efforts for Responsible Deployment: Advocating for a comprehensive approach to wind energy development, the Ocean Climate Action Plan, in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, has devised a joint strategy for preventing harm to fisheries.
- NextEra Energy Resources, based in Florida, builds wind energy plants.
- Invenergy, based in Chicago, builds energy solutions such as wind and solar power plants.
- Apex Clean Energy, based in Virginia, is a leader in the origination, construction, commercialisation, and operation of wind energy facilities.
- Avangrid Renewables, based in Oregon, is engaged in wind and solar power generation.
- Tradewind Energy, based in Kansas, is engaged in renewable energy development.
In this piece, I have talked about America’s ambition and strategy regarding wind energy, where three strategic initiatives have been mentioned, with ten actions taken by the federal American government. America’s capacity to deploy wind energy at scale faces four significant challenges, while the wind energy sector involves five indigenous players promoting the energy source. Ultimately, with President Biden’s active promotion of wind energy, the American federal government is taking significant steps towards embracing renewable energy. However, the timeline for America’s complete transition to renewable energy still lies ahead and awaits observation.