Biden Administration Announces Push for Offshore Wind Farms to Create Union Jobs
Publish Date:2021-04-21

The Biden Administration announced on Monday that it is putting forth a government-wide push to increase offshore wind farms on all three coasts in the United States, citing the move will “create good paying union jobs.”

“Today the White House convened leaders from across the administration and is taking coordinated steps to announce a set of bold actions that will catalyze offshore wind energy and create good paying union jobs,” Psaki said.

“The president recognizes that a thriving offshore wind industry will drive new jobs and economic opportunity up and down the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific waters,” Psaki said.

The U.S. Departments of Interior, Energy, Commerce and Transportation will spearhead the effort to “announce new leasing, funding, and development goals to accelerate and deploy offshore wind energy and jobs.”

The fact sheet stated that aside from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy met on Monday with state officials, industry executives, and labor leaders to announce new leasing and funding.

The fact sheet also said that the jobs will come “with the choice to join a union.”

“The [wind] industry will also spawn new supply chains that stretch into America’s heartland, as illustrated by the 10,000 tons of domestic steel that workers in Alabama and West Virginia are supplying to a Texas shipyard where Dominion Energy is building the nation’s first Jones Act compliant wind turbine installation vessel,” the fact sheet stated.

The fact sheet includes claims about the benefits the wind industry will reap, while revealing the cost to taxpayers:

• Establishing a Target of Employing Tens of Thousands of Workers to Deploy 30 Gigawatts (30,000 megawatts) of Offshore Wind by 203

• The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration today is announcing a Notice of Funding Opportunity for port authorities and other applicants to apply for $230 million for port and intermodal infrastructure-related projects through the Port Infrastructure Development Program

• DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) released a fact sheet to facilitate access for the offshore wind industry for $3 billion in funding through LPO’s Title XVII Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program.

• The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium (NOWRDC), created by the DOE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), is announcing the award of $8 million to 15 offshore wind research and development projects that were selected through a competitive process.

“President Biden has declared very clearly that when he thinks of climate, he thinks of people and jobs—good-paying, union jobs,” McCarthy said in the fact sheet announcement. “That’s because President Biden believes we have an enormous opportunity in front of us to not only address the threats of climate change, but use it as a chance to create millions of good-paying, union jobs that will fuel America’s economic recovery, rebuild the middle class, and make sure we bounce back from the crises we face.”

“Nowhere is the scale of that opportunity clearer than for offshore wind,” McCarthy said. “This commitment to a new, untapped industry will create pathways to the middle class for people from all backgrounds and communities.”

“For generations, we’ve put off the transition to clean energy and now we’re facing a climate crisis,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said.  “It’s a crisis that doesn’t discriminate – every community is facing more extreme weather and the costs associated with that. But not every community has the resources to rebuild, or even get up and relocate when a climate event happens in their backyards.” 

“The climate crisis disproportionately impacts communities of color and low-income families,” Haaland said. “As our country faces the interlocking challenges of a global pandemic, economic downturn, racial injustice, and the climate crisis – we have to transition to a brighter future for everyone.”

“Tackling the climate crisis is vital to our nation’s future,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said. “The Biden-Harris administration is taking actions that show how creating jobs and addressing climate change can and must go hand in hand.”

This move comes after Biden in his early days in office declared war on the fossil fuel industry, including banning new oil and gas drilling leases on public land. 

According to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) fossil fuel is essential to the U.S. energy landscape:

Fossil fuels, or energy sources formed in the Earth’s crust from decayed organic material, including petroleum, natural gas, and coal, continue to account for the largest share of energy production and consumption in the United States. In 2019, 80 percent of domestic energy production was from fossil fuels, and 80 percent of domestic energy consumption originated from fossil fuels.