Denmark's renewable energy leader, Orsted, has affirmed its dedication to advancing offshore wind farms in the United States, despite the recent decision to abandon two projects off the coast of New Jersey, according to a statement from White House senior advisor John Podesta.
In an interview with Reuters, Podesta revealed that he engaged in discussions with Orsted following the surprise cancellation of the New Jersey Ocean Wind projects. This conversation underscores the Biden administration's strong interest in harnessing the potential of offshore wind to contribute to the nation's climate change objectives by introducing zero-emissions power generation.
Podesta emphasized Orsted's ongoing commitment to the U.S. market, specifically mentioning a project in New York that is still moving forward.
Last week, Orsted, the world's largest offshore wind company, made the decision to cease all development efforts on the New Jersey Ocean Wind projects, a move that garnered strong reactions from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
Podesta, who is responsible for overseeing the implementation of President Biden's landmark climate-change law, the Inflation Reduction Act, pointed out that initial project proposals, such as Orsted's ventures, faced challenges stemming from high interest rates and supply chain issues. These factors contributed to making U.S. project development approximately 25% more expensive than in Europe.
However, Podesta expressed optimism that these cost challenges will diminish over time as further investments are made. He stated, “We remain optimistic that at the end of the day it will be a good-news story, and we'll get these projects on track.”
Podesta also confirmed his conversation with Governor Murphy and reiterated the region's ongoing need for the additional power supply. He emphasized the administration's determination to ensure the success of these projects and the broader goal of expanding offshore wind capacity.
The Biden administration has set a goal of permitting 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030, a target that, despite industry skepticism, remains achievable according to senior administration officials.
Furthermore, on Monday, the administration provided an update on its progress toward fulfilling a congressional mandate to permit 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands by 2025. Expanding renewable energy development on public lands is a key component of President Biden's plan to decarbonize the U.S. electricity grid by 2035.
The Department of the Interior announced the successful operation of two significant solar energy projects, Oberon Solar and Arlington Solar, on federal land in Riverside County, California. Together, these projects have the capacity to generate 864 megawatts of electricity. Additionally, the agency reported significant permitting milestones for transmission lines in the western U.S., including the approval of construction for a line in Arizona designed to connect solar energy to the grid.
The Department of the Interior is also making strides in conducting environmental reviews for eight other solar projects in California and Nevada. The Bureau of Land Management, a division of the Department of the Interior, is currently processing 66 utility-scale clean energy projects in western states, underlining the administration's continued focus on renewable energy expansion.