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Charlie Baker, East Coast govs team up with Biden to boost wind

WASHINGTON — The White House is launching a formal partnership with 11 East Coast governors to boost the growing offshore wind industry, a key element of President Biden’s plan for climate change.

The partnership comprises governors of both parties from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

“We are pleased to work with other East Coast governors and the federal government to further our growing offshore wind industry,” said Governor Charlie Baker in remarks circulated after the announcement. “With the country’s first federally-approved commercial-scale offshore wind farm under construction in Massachusetts, the Commonwealth continues to be a national leader in this industry and we look forward to a path for future projects that will create more jobs, investments and infrastructure up and down the East Coast.”

In working with states and the private sector, the White House said it will “provide Americans with cleaner and cheaper energy, create good-paying jobs and invest billions in new American energy supply chains,” including construction of wind turbines, shipbuilding and servicing.

Biden has set a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, enough to provide electricity to 10 million homes, support 77,000 jobs and spur $12 billion per year in private investment in offshore wind. Offshore wind is a key component in the Democratic president’s plan to make the nation’s electric grid carbon free by 2035.

The Biden administration has approved two large-scale wind projects, Vineyard Wind in Massachusetts and South Fork Wind off New York and Rhode Island. Both are under construction. The Interior Department has begun reviews of another 10 offshore projects that, if approved, would produce 22 gigawatts of clean energy.

Danish wind developer Orsted signed a project labor agreement last month with a national union representing 3 million people in the building trades to construct the company’s U.S. offshore wind farms.

“We recognize that states are huge players here,” said David Hayes, a White House climate adviser. With a formal partnership, the Biden administration can “work with the governors on policies going forward and help ensure that there is an American-made supply chain for this brand-new industry,” Hayes said.

Environmental and clean energy groups hailed the federal-state collaboration.

“Offshore wind has the potential to be a game-changer in the U.S. energy portfolio — making energy prices cheaper, creating jobs and replacing the fossil fuels that are driving climate change,” said Diane Hoskins, campaign director for the conservation group Oceana.

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