Policy commitments to generate $1 trillion in investments and one-million jobs

Wind power will be a major beneficiary of President Joe Biden’s policies, assuming the new administration can implement them successfully. The United States is already on its way toward shifting to renewable energy, but Biden’s avowed preferences would turbo-charge that trend.

The administration’s energy and environmental policies will represent a direct catalyst for investments in renewable energy. The administration’s commitment to rebuilding the nation’s infrastructures and to create jobs will also incentivize resources to be directed toward that sector.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, most of the 40 gigawatts of new electricity generating capacity planned for 2021 will come from renewables, with wind accounting for 31% of the total. Most of the 12 gigawatts of new wind capacity scheduled to come online this year will originate in land-side projects in Texas and Oklahoma. The 12-megawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project started generating electricity in September 2020 and is planned as the country’s largest offshore wind project once it is built out by 2026. (See Peter Buxbaum’s article Jones Act won’t stop US offshore wind)

Siemens Gamesa and Orsted have installed over 1,300 offshore wind turbines.
Siemens Gamesa and Orsted have installed over 1,300 offshore wind turbines.

Renewables Will Trigger Investment

Even before the Biden administration took office, the outgoing Congress passed legislation which included additional incentives for wind power and other forms of renewable energy. The COVID-19 legislation, signed by former President Trump at the end of 2020, included extensions of land-based and offshore wind investment tax credits.

Wind energy advocates are pushing for the majority of U.S. electrical output to be generated by renewables within the next few years. A recent study from the American Clean Power Association (ACP) indicated that effort will require $1 trillion in capital investments and will support the creation of one-million jobs.

“A majority renewables electric system for the U.S. is possible within a decade,” said Amy Farrell, an ACP senior vice president. Such an effort will have the effect of reducing U.S. carbon emissions by over 60%, she added. That will bring emissions in line with the country’s target under the Paris climate agreement, an accord which Biden has said he wants the U.S. to rejoin.

Bringing this vision to fruition will require a shift in government policies and the initiation of new financing schemes. The ACP analysis found that administrative actions alone—by providing easier access to federal lands and waters and by supporting technology advancements—could grow renewable energy from 19% to 37% of U.S. electricity generation. Legislative initiatives that incentivize improving the grid infrastructure will, among other things, help offshore wind deliver power to consumers where it is needed most, especially in the Northeast, the report said.

Administrative and legislative actions can also be a major source of economic stimulus, creating one-million jobs in construction, installation, operations, manufacturing, and the supply chain. The ACP study…

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