One Of Biden’s Favorite Green Technologies Is Drowning In Logistical Hurdles

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Nick Pope Contributor
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The offshore wind industry is facing considerable logistical challenges that could severely diminish the technology’s ability to meet the green energy goals that the Biden administration has established, E&E News reported.

Offshore wind developers, many of which have struggled financially in recent months, are dealing with logistical and infrastructure inadequacies that are threatening to compound the inflationary pressures, supply chain backups and diminished opportunities to refinance that are dogging the industry, according to E&E News. Most of the logistical problems are related to the size of the enormous turbines and blades that developers are looking to use in their developments, which in many cases are too large for existing tugboats, barges, testing facilities and some existing hardware to accommodate.

The Biden administration has made efforts to fast-track numerous offshore wind projects off the East Coast in order to get closer to its goal of deploying enough offshore wind-generated energy to power 10 million American homes by 2030, according to E&E News. Even if the construction of the wind farms is completed on schedule and avoids substantial financial setbacks, there is a possibility that the wind turbines could fail once in operation, as the technology has not yet been in service long enough to have an established track record. (RELATED: Biden Admin’s Offshore Wind Leases Flop In The Gulf Of Mexico)

The Biden administration has boasted that its green energy agenda has spurred billions of dollars of private sector investment in the offshore wind industry, but costs have risen so sharply for offshore wind developers that several have chosen to pay hefty fines to terminate power purchase agreements with utility companies rather than continue at agreed-upon rates.

The platforms that are drilled into the seafloor and then serve as the base for the towering windmills are in some cases too small to handle the size of the structures that many offshore wind developers are planning to install to maximize efficiency, according to E&E News. Over 20 new platforms will be needed to meet global goals for offshore wind energy generation, but developers and installers have so far only committed to building about 10.

Additionally, the barges and tugboats that are needed to transport component parts out to the development site are in many cases too small to handle the size of the parts, according to E&E News. The U.S. needs to build 100 new ships in order to reach the administration’s 2030 target, according to E&E News. Currently, there are only 36 being constructed.

The only blade testing facility in North America is located in Boston, Massachusetts, and it can only handle blades that are up to 300 feet long, according to E&E News. In some instances, developers have been able to “trim” their blades down to about 300 feet in order to accommodate the facility’s limitations, but some developers are looking to use blades as long as 450 feet, which are too long to effectively trim.

Apart from potential difficulties getting equipment certified, developers could face headwinds in getting insurance for their hardware, according to E&E News. Some insurers may be concerned enough about timeline delays or part failures by denying or slow-walking efforts to provide coverage for the projects.

Neither the White House nor the Department of Energy responded immediately to requests for comment.

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