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BOEM Takes Specific Actions to Boost Offshore Wind Efforts Under Biden Administration Executive Orders

Under US President Joe Biden’s recent climate change Executive Orders, the Biden-Harris Administration set US offshore wind plans in motion and set a goal of doubling US offshore wind leases in federal waters by 2030. Following those Orders, efforts to move the offshore industry forward were recently announced by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), with two important announcements. First, that it plans to pursue two environmental assessments on potential wind energy lease areas in the Pacific Ocean. And second, the selection of Amanda Lefton as the agency’s director. Lefton is no stranger to renewable energy development, as she has worked as the first assistant secretary for energy and the environment for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Both announcements send a message that the new administration is dedicated to doubling offshore wind capacity by 2030 and moving the United States toward 100% clean electricity by 2035.

The assessments sought by BOEM are under the National Environmental Policy Act, created to ensure federal agencies consider the environmental impacts of their actions and decisions. BOEM will now undergo a 45-day public comment period and conduct public virtual meetings.

The offshore wind industry has also seen a boost with the recent enactment of a 30% standalone federal investment tax credit (ITC), available for projects that start construction before 2026. To quote The Business Network for Offshore Wind, the ITC “is the opportunity the offshore wind industry has waited for.” Less than a week later, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued generous guidance for the new ITC, suggesting that these projects have strong support within Congress and the Department of the Treasury. The new ITC and IRS rules recognize the significant time and economic investments required for offshore wind projects, and demonstrate that the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to expanding opportunities for renewable energy development.

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© 2021 McDermott Will & EmeryNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 34
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About this Author

Partner

Carl J. Fleming focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, project development and project finance, predominately in the renewable energy industry. He leads energy, infrastructure and PPP transactions throughout the US and in more than 40 countries worldwide. Carl represents private equity investors, Fortune 500 companies, foreign governments, and a broad range of leading renewable energy developers and sponsors.

Carl provides legal and commercial advice for the development, construction, operation, purchase and sale, and financing of projects and infrastructure, including...

202 756 8917
Heather Cooper, Energy Attorney, McDermott Will & Emery Law Firm
Counsel

Heather Cooper is counsel in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Miami office.  She works on federal income tax matters, with a focus on energy tax issues. She represents clients in restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, and other transactional energy related matters. Her national practice includes advising on renewable energy transactions, such as solar and wind projects.

305-329-4473
Elle Hayes Corporate Attorney McDermott Will & Emery Miami, FL
Associate

Elle Hayes focuses her practice on general corporate matters and transactions.

While in law school, Elle was assistant communications editor for the Journal of Technology Law & Policy. She also served as a student volunteer coordinator with Southern Legal Counsel, where she organized events to assist homeless and low-income individuals obtain legal advice, and interned with Chief Judge Joseph Farina of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.

305-329-4492
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