The White House is launching a formal partnership with 11 East Coast states to encourage the growing offshore wind industry, a key component of President Joe Biden's climate change plan.
Biden and other members of his administration will meet with governors and union members at the White House this Thursday to announce commitments to expanding segments of the offshore industry, including industrial facilities, ports, and training and professional development.
The partnership includes the governors, Democratic and Republican, of the states of North Carolina, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
At fault is the governor of Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin, who has decided to withdraw the state from a regional initiative that aims to limit carbon emissions in order to combat climate change.
With this initiative, involving states and the private sector, the White House wants to "provide (North) Americans with cheap, clean energy, create good-paying jobs, and invest billions of dollars in new logistics chains in the US," including turbine and shipbuilding, construction, and service industries.
Biden has already expressed his intention to achieve 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power by 2030, which would provide electricity to 10 million homes, maintain 77,000 jobs, and annual private sector investments to the tune of $12 billion in offshore wind.
This energy source is a key part of the Democratic president's plan for the US to have a carbon-free electricity grid by 2035.
Biden's administration has already approved two large-scale wind projects, Vineyard Wind in Massachusetts and South Fork Wind opposite New York and Rhode Island. Both are under construction by unionized workers.
The Department of the Interior has already begun reviewing 22 other projects, which, if they move forward, will produce 22 GW of clean energy.
Danish wind energy company Orsted signed a labor agreement last month with a union representing three million workers nationwide to build the wind farms with unionized U.S. workers. Currently, Orsted has six projects in five states.
The nationwide agreement signed with the US construction unions covers subcontractors on current and future projects and has no end date.
It sets out the terms and conditions under which union members will build the 'offshore' parks, with defined goals to ensure worker diversification. On its website, the union structure particularizes the cases of women, blacks and ex-combatants.
Training is also contemplated in the text, since the complex infrastructure to be built is valued in billions of dollars.
The collaboration between federal and state leaders comes after the White House announced it will hold auctions for seven offshore wind farms by 2025, including one already held in May in North Carolina and another earlier this year on the New York coast.
On the agenda are locations in the Gulf of Maine, the Central Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico, plus two on the other coast, in the states of California and Oregon.