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NY - Biden admin to hold huge offshore wind sale, modernize grid

The Biden administration today announced a blockbuster wind sale in the waters off New York, alongside a bundle of clean energy initiatives aimed at speeding up renewable deployment and modernizing the country’s aging and vulnerable electricity grid.

The efforts include $20 billion in grid funding from the Department of Energy, a rural renewables pilot program from the Department of Agriculture and a multiagency collaboration to advance onshore solar, wind and geothermal energy projects.

In addition, the Interior Department next month will hold an offshore wind lease sale in a shallow-water region off the coasts of New York and New Jersey called the New York Bight.

This is the first lease sale for the Biden administration, which has already committed to rapidly expanding the fledgling offshore wind industry in the United States. The White House plans to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, part of the larger push to zero out carbon emissions from the U.S. electricity sector.

The New York Bight lease area alone could support enough offshore wind to power 2 million homes.

“We are at an inflection point for domestic offshore wind energy development. We must seize this moment — and we must do it together,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.

To support the massive growth of renewables anticipated by the Biden administration, the Department of Energy also announced today the launch of an initiative to deploy funding to accelerate grid improvements.

“The foundation of our climate and clean energy goals is a safe, reliable, and resilient electric grid that is planned hand-in-hand with community partners and industry stakeholders,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in a statement.

Granholm said the initiative would be a “job booster … to upgrade the nation’s grid, connect more Americans to clean electricity and broadband, and reliably move clean energy to where it’s needed most.”

A senior White House official said in a briefing last night that the grid efforts would be crucial to meeting Biden’s goal of reaching 100 percent carbon emissions-free electricity in the United States by midcentury, but they also respond to the need to prepare an aging grid in the face of climate change.

“Extreme weather events like the Dixie wildfire, Hurricane Ida and the 2021 Texas [grid] freeze have been made it clear that our existing energy infrastructure will not endure accelerating impacts of extreme weather spurred by climate change,” said the official, who spoke with reporters on the condition of anonymity.

He added: “On top of that, the queue of projects waiting to connect to the grid, both clean generation projects as well as electricity storage projects, they’re looking for interconnection.”

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