James Van Orden was quoted in Law360 on the implications of the Biden administration’s executive order, which doubles offshore wind power generation in U.S. federal waters by 2030. With the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management resuming the environmental review of the Vineyard Wind, a project off the Massachusetts coast poised to be the first commercial-scale wind farm to be built in federal waters, there is enthusiasm throughout the industry that more projects will follow.
Experts are optimistic that this push will also result in an effort to build additional transmission lines. There is belief that this may happen with a Democratic-controlled Congress. However, the regulatory component of the transmission equation is challenging with individual states retaining authority over siting, construction, and permitting of projects as well as the federal government’s history of being hesitant to use congressional authority as a backstop to site transmission projects if states don’t act.
“While the feds can certainly use their authority to shape how the grid is updated, the question is whether they can work with the states on planning, potential subsidies and direct investment to ensure those updates occur,” James said.