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Biden Administration Advances Renewable Energy Projects

January 12, 2022 by Dan McCue
(American Public Power Association)

WASHINGTON — Seven federal executive branch agencies have begun rolling out wind, solar and other clean energy projects, the White House announced Wednesday morning.

According to a senior administration official, the effort builds on President Biden’s commitment to “pull every lever” to scale up the use of renewable sources and create good paying, union jobs while lowering energy bills for consumers.

First and foremost, the Interior Department is holding a record-breaking offshore wind lease sale, with the most lease areas ever offered, in the New York Bight off the coasts of New York and New Jersey. The upcoming lease sale is projected to generate up to 7 gigawatts.

The sale includes innovative lease provisions that will lead to offshore wind projects being built with union labor and Made in America materials.

The White House said Wednesday the federal government will build on these new lease stipulations through a new federal-state partnership that will ensure local residents — including underserved communities — benefit from new developments.

A number of agencies are also working with offshore wind developers to become a new clean energy sector.

For example, the Transportation Department recently announced port investments to help develop areas that will be used to build and stage offshore wind turbine components, and efforts are underway across the Departments of Commerce, the Interior and Energy to promote biodiversity and cooperative ocean use and support innovation across the supply chain.

The Departments of Interior, Agriculture, Defense, Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency are forming a new collaboration to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of reviews of clean energy projects on public lands, in order to expand solar, onshore wind and geothermal energy.

The Energy Department is launching a new Building a Better Grid initiative to accelerate the deployment of new transmission lines — as enabled by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — to connect more Americans to cleaner, cheaper energy.

The transmission build-out will make our grid more reliable and resilient in the face of intensifying extreme weather and is critical to achieving the president’s goal of 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.

To ensure that these benefits reach all Americans, the White House said, the Agriculture Department is creating a new pilot program to support clean energy in underserved rural communities and the Commerce Department is awarding American Rescue Plan funds to support regional coalitions to grow new industry clusters focused on clean energy deployment and job training. 

As all this transpires, a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that the administration’s SolarAPP+ tool is reducing permitting times for residential installations to less than one day, helping local governments fast-track rooftop solar.

In addition, the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium is awarding over $3 million to six offshore wind R&D projects. 

The competitive awards will fund three new supply chain projects to facilitate U.S. manufacturing, ensure quality component production and simplify the transportation of major wind plant components.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue 

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