Long behind the Europeans in offshore wind energy, the United States wants to take the lead this time. The Biden administration, which intends to accelerate its green energy program at the national level, has set a new goal: to deploy enough floating offshore wind turbines to produce 15 gigawatts in 2035, enough to supply 5 million homes with electricity. . This objective is in addition to that decided last year by the American government to generate 30 gigawatts of electricity by means of offshore wind energy by 2030.
Siting wind farms in deep waters, reducing costs by 70%
” Today we are launching efforts to seize a new opportunity, floating offshore wind, which will allow us to build in deep water areas where turbines cannot be attached directly to the seabed, but where there are strong winds that we can exploit said White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy on Thursday during a briefing with reporters.
The administration is thinking in particular of projects off the coasts of California and Oregon, to the west, and Maine, to the east. She estimates that two-thirds of the potential for offshore wind energy in the United States relies on deep waters.
The US government would also like to reduce the cost of production of these floating wind turbines by 70% by 2035. The administration intends to devote nearly 50 million dollars to research and development projects.
These projects, assures the Minister of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, will be carried out in such a way as to ensure that the floating wind turbines can coexist with wild fauna and flora, and with fishermen “.
The Department of the Interior, for its part, plans to begin the process of awarding deep-water concessions with a first auction for an area off California at the end of the year.
Reduce US CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030
Joe Biden, who has made the fight against climate change one of his priorities, has set an ambition to reduce US CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 2005. This notably through the deployment of renewable energies. A total envelope of 370 billion dollars is allocated to such investments in this area considered “historical” by the president.
To ensure the support of American households, little affected by the climate crisis when inflation reaches record levels, the government has decided to touch them directly in the wallet: part of these funds will thus be used to finance tax credits for producers and consumers of wind, solar and nuclear energy. It is therefore a question of setting up financial incentives intended to make the American economy evolve towards non-fossil energy sources rather than a policy of sanctions against polluters.
While wind power is carving out a place of choice in the American electricity mix, it is not yet close to eclipsing fossil fuels, which still largely dominate. The production of electricity from fossil gas, which is mainly obtained by hydraulic fracturing across the Atlantic, remains the main source of energy to produce electricity.
Deprived of Russian gas, Europe bets on offshore wind power
European countries, which are looking at all costs for alternatives to Russian gas, are multiplying wind energy development projects. Eight European Union countries bordering the Baltic Sea (Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Sweden) have agreed to increase offshore wind power capacity sevenfold by 2030 The Baltic currently has 2.8 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity, almost all of it in Danish and German waters.
As for France, which is lagging far behind in this area compared to the countries of Northern Europe where entire parks are already in operation, it is finally producing offshore wind electricity. Twelve years after the first calls for tenders, since June, electricity from wind power has been produced off the coast of France near Saint-Nazaire. Other French offshore wind sites are yet to be built in the Channel and the Atlantic from 2023, and eventually in the Mediterranean Sea, while the development of onshore wind power is marking time.