Amanda Lefton, the former head of the US offshore wind regulatory body the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), has joined the Washington DC law firm Foley Hoag as senior policy director for its energy & climate team.

“As the nation transitions to a clean energy future, helping businesses tackle the complexities of the renewable energy and climate solutions sectors will be critical,” the law firm said.

“Lefton’s addition will strengthen the firm’s existing capabilities with respect to strategic, regulatory, financial and policy matters in the clean technology and renewable energy industries.”

Leftonheaded BOEM, lead agency for energy development on the outer continental shelf, during a pivotal nearly two-year stretch from February 2021 to January 2023.

Under her watch the industry moved from its demonstration phase to commercialisation with the approval of the pioneering Vineyard Wind and South Fork Wind arrays. Both projects will start installing turbines this spring and selling power the grid by year’s end.

Lefton spearheaded Joe Biden administration’s drive towards 30GW of offshore wind by 2030 with an ambitious agenda of project reviews and offshore wind area auctions.

The bureau held three offshore wind leasing rounds in 2022, including the record-setting $4.37bn auction in the New York Bight and the nation’s first floating wind tender off California.

Nine out of 16 project reviews promised by 2025 are already underway, setting up some 10GW for approval this year.

“I am eager to leverage my experience in policy and regulation at the state and federal levels with the private sector to help businesses get projects built and ensure we are collectively meeting the challenge of climate change,” said Lefton.

Prior to BOEM, Lefton was first assistant secretary for energy and environment for the state of New York, where she led twelve agencies in implementing climate and renewable energy strategies, including the landmark 2019 Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act that launched the state’s offshore wind industry.

New York has 4.3GW under contract and recently closed its round 3 tender for up to 4.7GW towards its nation-leading mandate of 9GW of capacity by 2035.

She was succeeded at BOEM by Elizabeth Klein, a former senior official with the Department of Interior who served under presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.