Offshore wind’s in trouble if Trump wins

By Benjamin Storrow | 03/05/2024 06:53 AM EST

Former President Donald Trump attacked wind power in his first term. He might stunt the fledgling industry if he returns to the White House.

Former President Donald Trump speaks in front of an American flag.

Former President Donald Trump delivers remarks in Maryland last month. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Offshore wind survived Donald Trump once. Whether it would again is an open question.

The prospect of the former president returning to the White House has become an urgent matter for the nascent industry. Permitting of new projects ground to a halt during Trump’s four years in the Oval Office, a theme that was punctuated by the Interior Department’s unexpected decision to call for additional environmental review of the country’s first major sea-based wind farm, planned off the coast of Massachusetts. The move threatened to sink the project.

The election this year comes as the industry is at a crucial juncture. Two projects are in advanced construction, and the owners of two more are set to begin building them in the water later this spring. Yet offshore wind’s long-term outlook remains uncertain after a spike in inflation, supply chain bottlenecks and rising interest rates prompted developers to cancel power contracts and pause some projects planned along the East Coast.


If Trump wins the Republican nomination and goes on to beat President Joe Biden, the industry could be thrust into a potentially perilous position. Trump has seized on unsubstantiated claims that wind projects are killing whales and pledged to repeal clean energy subsidies available to wind developers. Analysts say his ability to gum up permits for new projects could cause even greater headaches. Industry officials are reluctant to talk about the former president publicly, but privately some say they are deeply concerned by the prospect of him winning a second term.