Biden Creates 80,000 Jobs with Offshore Wind Plan
Offshore wind is proving to be an exciting frontier for both cleaning up America's power grid and creating jobs. Last week, Biden announced a clean energy plan, part of which "will aim to bring more sources of clean energy online and install more high-voltage transmission cables across the country to transport that power where it's needed," as Vox reports. Currently, the US only has seven offshore wind turbines: five off the coast of Block Island and two off the coast of Virginia. As part of Bidens aim to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, this new plan will auction offshore wind leases to set up wind farms off the coast of New York and New Jersey. Installing these turbines will add 80,000 jobs to the workforce -- about double the number of coal jobs in the country.
TED-Ed: How do wind turbines work?, April 22, 2021.
Why This Matters
Investing in clean energy -- particularly offshore wind -- has been a long time coming, especially as the Trump Administration impeded wind farm construction throughout its tenure. But now that these plans have been set in motion, the Biden Administration is closer to achieving its goal of reducing emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2030 and phasing out crude oil, which has become increasingly expensive and untenable.
The plan also shows the ways energy and job creation are inextricably linked. "The administration seems to understand that energy is at the heart of an integrated problem," Alexandra von Meier, director of the electric grid program at the California Institute for Energy and Environment at UC Berkeley, told Vox. "It relates to people's well-being and jobs."
Creating An Economy Around Clean Energy
Offshore wind has its detractors -- fishers worry that turbines will damage nearby marine ecosystems. To address these concerns, the Energy Department gave Duke University a $7.5 million grant to study offshore wind's impact on marine life. In the meantime, the offshore wind plan includes measures that help fishers, such as 2.8-mile-wide transit lanes for fishing vessels. The state of New York also allotted $500 million to invest in wind energy, helping fund this expansive project.
It's not just the US that's taking on clean energy. In 2021, nearly all of the new power generation capacity worldwide came from renewable energy, according to the International Energy Agency. And according to the Global Wind Energy Council, wind can power 3.3 million new jobs globally over the next five years.
CNBC: The Rise Of Wind Power In The US, March 10, 2021.