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Energy Sec: Offshore Wind Brings Jobs  12/05 08:51

   

   PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said 
Thursday that the administration's goal for offshore wind and the projects 
being developed now represent a "gust of job growth throughout the country."

   Granholm visited a new offshore wind manufacturing hub in Providence to talk 
about the Biden administration's plan to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind 
energy by 2030 and to promote the investments in the $1 trillion infrastructure 
deal.

   "More offshore wind means more jobs for iron workers, line workers, 
engineers, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters," she said. "Jobs in mining and 
manufacturing and management and operations and sales, not to mention of course 
the benefit to surrounding communities."

   At the Port of Providence, Orsted, a Danish energy company, and the utility 
Eversource are constructing a building for the fabrication and assembly of 
large, advanced components for turbine foundations. Orsted officials gave 
Granholm and Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee a tour. The group met union workers 
who are building the facility.

   McKee said he envisions Rhode Island as the "base camp" to support the 
offshore wind supply chain along the East Coast. Granholm said looking at the 
building reminded her of a proverb: "When the winds of change blow, some build 
walls, others build windmills."

   "And we know which side of that Rhode Island falls on," she said.

   Eversource President and CEO Joe Nolan said the Biden administration's 
support of offshore wind is a "breath of fresh air" after the Trump 
administration. Both Nolan and Orsted Offshore North America CEO David Hardy 
said such support is critical while the U.S. industry is still in the fragile, 
early stages.

   "The momentum is happening," Nolan said. "We need it to continue."

   "It's a young industry," added Hardy. "We need help getting the first 
projects off the ground."

   Their manufacturing hub at the port is scheduled to be finished this spring 
to support two offshore wind projects, Revolution Wind and South Fork Wind.

   Revolution Wind is a planned offshore wind farm south of Martha's Vineyard, 
Massachusetts, to provide power for Connecticut and Rhode Island. The federal 
government is currently reviewing the construction and operations plan.

   The South Fork Wind project will be located off the coast of Rhode Island. 
Its transmission system will connect to the electric grid on Long Island, New 
York, making it the state's first offshore wind farm and jumpstarting the 
offshore wind industry there.

   The interior department announced last week that the administration approved 
the construction and operations for South Fork Wind, as part of a plan to 
deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. It was the 
administration's second approval of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy 
project in the United States. The first commercial-scale project is off the 
coast of Massachusetts.

   The first U.S. offshore wind farm began operating off Block Island, Rhode 
Island, in late 2016. But at five turbines, it's not commercial-scale. Orsted 
acquired the developer, Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind, and now operates 
that wind farm.

   Granholm also visited a manufacturer of electric vehicle chargers and a 
clean energy technology company in Connecticut Thursday. On Friday, she's 
hosting a roundtable discussion in Boston about the transition to clean energy.

   Granholm has been making stops around the country to talk about how 
investments in infrastructure incentivize companies like these to open and 
expand, driving the transition away from fossil fuels, creating jobs and 
helping people save money on energy. She is visiting areas that are proactive 
in reducing emissions and areas where more work needs to be done.

   President Joe Biden signed his hard-fought $1 trillion infrastructure deal 
into law in November, declaring that the new infusion of cash for roads, 
bridges, ports and more is going to make life "change for the better" for the 
American people. It has $100 million for wind energy research and development, 
$2.5 billion for transmission lines, including transmission from offshore wind 
farms, and $20 million to ensure offshore wind is built sustainably, Granholm 
said.

   The companion piece of legislation, the social and environment bill under 
consideration in the Senate, has $600 million for port infrastructure, as well 
as significant tax credits to incentivize offshore wind development and turbine 
manufacturing, she added.

 
 
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