America’s offshore wind sector has enjoyed a new “surge” of momentum from the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) – but “historic roadblocks” need clearing in key areas such as grids and supply chain development, the principal deputy under-secretary for infrastructure at the US Department of Energy (DoE) told a Recharge industry event.

Kathleen Hogan told the Global Offshore Wind Summit held in Washington, DC, on Wednesday that potential “is brimming here in the US” for an offshore wind industry that could unleash $12bn of annual investment and underpin 77,000 jobs as it sets out to hit the 30GW by 2030 installation goal set by President Joe Biden.

Hogan spoke on the day that the US sector received another boost as federal regulators set out draft areas that could support 20GW of offshore wind in the Central Atlantic, some of it floating.

The DoE official said US climate goals of a decarbonised power grid by 2035 and net zero by 2050 “would be near impossible to meet without offshore wind”, which already has a 40GW American pipeline in development and “with the surge from the IRA we see we are closer and moving more quickly”.

Hogan admitted, however, that “historic roadblocks” remain, such as “supply chain constraints and high costs to bring this industry to scale”.

Hogan said the US government would use tools available to it to help address these, along with another big challenge in the shape of grids.

“We see that to expand future development we need to resolve transmission challenges in areas adjacent to coastlines and ensure the power is brought onshore in a cost effective and equitable manner.

“We need solutions that help grid operators and system planners to meet our goals… while enhancing stability of the grid,” Hogan told the Recharge event.