Much of the Biden Plan is to use the federal government to help states meet existing goals like New York and New Jersey. For example, the transportation division announced $ 230 million for port authorities to build storage areas and other projects to support wind development.
The largest pool of funds, $ 3 billion, will be made available through the Department of Energy’s loan program to work with offshore wind and transmission developers.
Although the latest offshore wind proposals tend to be far enough from shore to allay fears of poor visibility, they have still met with resistance from commercial fishermen operating in the area. A variety of economically important fisheries exist in federal Atlantic waters, including scallops, squid, and surf clams, many of which overlap with areas of future offshore wind development.
Fishing groups have repeatedly raised concerns that their boats and trawlers will be forced to stay away from the giant turbines, the largest of which are now rotor diameters the length of two football fields. This could limit the amount of seafood they can ultimately catch and potentially steal millions of dollars in revenue from inshore fishing communities.
“Our fisheries are already more regulated than anywhere else in the world, so it’s not that easy to say that fishermen can just switch gear and fish elsewhere,” said Annie Hawkins, executive director of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance for Commercial Fishing. “Fishermen understand the need to tackle climate change but don’t want to be left completely behind.”
As part of the Vineyard Wind Project, Massachusetts agreed to earmark $ 21 million to compensate fishermen for losses, although it remains unclear how the money will be spent. In its announcement on Monday, the Biden government announced new $ 1 million grants to study the impact on fisheries and coastal communities. However, Ms. Hawkins said the amount was “poor” compared to the scope of development planned for the Atlantic.
Marine researchers also said there were many unanswered questions about how a boom in offshore wind construction could affect the ecosystems of the Atlantic oceans, which are already burdened by global warming.
“The fact is, it’s a big experiment,” said Kevin Stokesbury, a professor in the School for Marine Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. “We can only learn so much from Europe’s experience. We just haven’t had these big wind turbines all over our coast. “