America's Offshore Wind Industry Stands to Gain From Biden's Win

File image courtesy American Wind Energy Association

Published Nov 8, 2020 8:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

Few industries stand to benefit more from the election of former Vice President Joe Biden than the nascent U.S. offshore wind sector. In the run-up to the election, President Donald Trump described wind turbines as a danger to migratory birds and a source of harmful "fumes," without offering evidence; Biden has endorsed offshore wind as a source of well-paid jobs and a solution to emissions-intensive power generation. In a pre-election forecast, the Business Network for Offshore Wind predicted that a Biden administration would bring "substantial growth from projects and supply chain development," while a Trump administration would likely mean another four years with strong state-level (but little federal) policy support. 

A Biden administration will likely rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement immediately, committing the United States to reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century. Biden has also pledged to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure and clean energy in order to set the economy on a path to carbon neutrality.

This weekend, America's wind industry advocates wasted little time in congratulating Biden on his victory. 

"American wind power contratulates President-elect Biden on his victory. We look forward to collaborating with his administration and Congress as we work together to shape a cleaner and more prosperous energy future for America," said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. "The president-elect and his team have laid out an ambitious, comprehensive approach to energy policy that recognizes renewable energy's ability to grow America's economy and create a cleaner environment, while keeping electricity costs low and combating the threat of climate change. The U.S. wind sector and its growing workforce of over 120,000 Americans stand ready to help put that plan into action."

"It is a bright day for offshore wind," said Business Network for Offshore Wind CEO Liz Burdock in a statement. "The election of President Biden puts the offshore wind energy industry on the precipice of substantial growth with the support of an administration that promises to put significant focus back on renewable energy, offshore wind among the beneficiaries." 

Investors also signaled their approval. On November 4, as the possibility of a disputed election grew, shares in wind turbine builder Vestas shed about six percent of their value in hours - then swiftly regained their losses with interest on November 5, jumping back up by nearly 10 percent as the odds of a clear Biden win increased. Leading offshore wind developer Orsted saw its stock dip as the election neared, then rise again by eight percent from November 3 through November 6 as the election results trickled in.

Though Biden has promised to curtail new oil and gas lease activity on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, the business association for America's offshore oil and gas industry also congradulated him on his win - and highlighted the promise of cooperation on offshore wind. 

"While the political landscape may look different after today, the promise of American energy remains constant. From offshore wind projects along the Atlantic Coast to oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, the benefits of American energy production lift every American, regardless of party. NOIA congratulates President-elect Biden on his election win and looks forward to working with his administration and the incoming Congress," said National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) President Erik Milito in a statement. "America’s offshore oil and natural gas producers, wind operators and service and supply companies are already aligned to innovate and scale the innovation and technologies needed to solve energy challenges, including climate change."