US President urged to declare climate change a matter of 'national emergency'

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 25/07/2022 The White House
Last week US President Joe Biden was urged by US Senators and climate activists to declare climate change a matter of 'national emergency'. He also announced his administration's next steps to advance offshore wind energy.

Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) led by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) sent a letter to President Biden urging the President to declare a climate emergency to unlock the powers of the National Emergency Act (NEA).  

The Senators noted that declaring a national emergency is "not something to take lightly", and even noted their apprehension of prior national emergencies, but "state tackling the climate crisis is an emergency that demands ambitious, urgent action".

The letter stated: "The climate crisis is one of the biggest emergencies that our country has ever faced and time is running out. We cannot allow a single Senator to stall our progress. Addressing this crisis head-on, with the full authorities you possess is a win for the environment, public health, the planet, American workers, American consumers, and our national security interests. We urge you to act boldly, declare this crisis the national emergency that it is, and embark upon bold regulatory and administrative action."

President Biden announced last week that he has directed the Secretary of the Interior to advance wind energy development in the waters off the mid- and southern Atlantic Coast and Florida’s Gulf Coast. According to the White House this sought to alleviate uncertainty cast by the prior Administration.

according to an announcement last week by DOI, by 2025 it also plans to potentially hold up to five additional offshore lease sales and complete the review of at least 16 plans to construct and operate commercial, offshore wind energy facilities for the Gulf of Mexico. It could represent more than 22 GW.

These actions follow the President’s launch of a new Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership that brought together Governors in an effort to deliver more energy and new jobs.

Last week (21 July 2022) President Joe Biden visited one of the facilities that form part of the plan of Iberdrola's listed subsidiary in the country for the construction of offshore wind projects in New England. The electricity company chaired by Ignacio Galán will invest $10 billion in these projects over the course of this decade. The three offshore wind farms are already under construction or advanced development, and all have long-term power sales contracts in Massachusetts and Connecticut. 

The US government has a national goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. This effort is expected to support approximately around 80,000 jobs in industry and surrounding communities, generate electricity to power over 10 million American homes. According to DOE, achieving this goal will result in an expected $12 billion in annual investment in offshore wind projects, which in turn can lead to the construction of up to 10 manufacturing plants for offshore wind turbine components and new ships to install the turbines.

Offshore wind is taking off in the US, particularly the east coast,  with a number of offshore wind projects are proposed off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, Maine and the Carolinas. So far, only two projects have hit the water,
Block Island which was commissioned in 2017 followed by Coastal Virginia in 2020. Vineyard Wind 1, poised to be the first commercial scale offshore wind project in the United States, is expected to start offshore construction this year with first power slated for 2023 ahead of commissioning in 2024. Other States such as California, Louisiana and Oregon are also investigation offshore wind potential, including floating developments.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.