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A key to Biden’s lagging wind energy goal will set sail after the election

The United States is producing less than 1% of the wind power it wants to generate by 2030. But an enormous boat promising to change that is about 89% built, and when it's done next year, the real race to catch up begins.

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The ship, named the Charybdis after a mythological Greek sea monster, won't set sail until next year, potentially after one of the most pro-green energy administrations in history has left the White House. And as Eric Hines, the director of Tufts University's offshore wind energy graduate program, puts it, "We're going to need somewhere on the order of five of these installation vessels in just a few years."

The Biden administration wants the U.S. to generate 30,000 megawatts from wind power within the next five and a half years. As of last year, that figure stood at just 42 megawatts, putting the nation far behind Europe — which added 18,300 megawatts of new wind energy capacity in 2023 alone, according to WindEurope.

In recent years, constructing massive offshore windmills has come with headwinds from supply chain snags to higher interest rates. But the U.S. faces an added logistical puzzle from a 100-year-old maritime law that, along with those other factors, has contributed to project delays and even cancellations.

The outcome of November's election isn't likely to affect the Charybdis, whose operator plans to take advantage of green energy tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act. But the prospect of a new administration much less keen on renewables could hamper additional projects.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claimed at a New Jersey rally in May that offshore wind installations harm whales, saying, "We are going to make sure that ends on day one. I am going to