The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) this week approved Revolution Wind — the fourth commercial-scale offshore wind project greenlighted since President Joe Biden took office in 2021.
Located 15 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, the wind farm has a capacity of 704 megawatts of clean energy — an amount roughly capable of powering around 250,000 homes. The project could create an estimated 1,200 local jobs during the construction phase.
The U.S. wind energy sector is a map of peaks and valleys: Job and project numbers surged in the 1990s with the introduction of the production tax credit, then fell in 2012 as the government allowed the program to lapse. Numbers were falling again in 2022 until the Inflation Reduction Act’s tax credits, like the Advanced Energy Project Investment Tax Credit that provides a tax credit for wind turbine manufacturing facilities, revitalized a corporate appetite for domestic production and onshore and offshore wind farms.
Today, wind energy from land-hosted installations is the largest source of renewable energy production in the U.S., contributing about 10 percent of the nation’s energy and generating around 450 billion kilowatt-hours of energy.
This is the fourth offshore wind project approved by the Biden administration since the president announced a goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030. The U.S.'s current offshore wind capacity is just 42 megawatts (0.042 gigawatts). This latest federal go-ahead follows an approval in July for the construction of the nation’s largest offshore wind farm, Ocean Wind 1, off the coast of New Jersey. The East Coast is largely recognized as offering the best potential area for offshore wind in the U.S., due to its windy conditions and large populations centers.
For perspective, Europe has already surpassed the U.S.’s 2030 goal, with a current offshore wind capacity of 32 gigawatts.
U.S. offshore wind projects, such as Revolution Wind, must receive state approval, in addition to approval from the DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, to move forward. All current approved offshore wind projects have both state and federal approval. The Department of Energy reported in July that nearly $3.5 billion has thus far been invested in offshore wind manufacturing and port investments.