The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) this week announced that Karen J. Baker is the new Chief for the Office of Renewable Energy Programs (OREP).

Baker will oversee the responsible development of renewable energy resources on the Outer Continental Shelf through conscientious planning, stakeholder engagement, comprehensive environmental analysis, and sound technical review.

“We’re very excited to add Ms. Baker to our team at such a pivotal time in offshore wind development,” BOEM Director Amanda Lefton said in a statement announcing the change in leadership. “I know she will bring her demonstrated commitment to excellence and extensive leadership experience to our renewable energy program as we work toward achieving the Administration’s goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.”

“I’m excited to have this opportunity to join the BOEM team,” said Baker. “We will be focused on achieving the Administration’s goal in a way that protects our environment, fosters economic growth and respects the concerns of tribes and impacted communities.”

Karen Baker is chief of BOEM's Office of Renewable Energy Programs. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo.

Over the past year, the Biden-Harris administration has launched the American offshore wind industry by approving and celebrating the groundbreaking of the U.S.’s first two commercial-scale, offshore wind projects in federal waters. By 2025, BOEM plans to potentially hold up to five additional offshore lease sales and complete the review of at least 16 plans to construct and operate commercial, offshore wind energy facilities, which would represent more than 22 gigawatts of clean energy for the nation.

With more than 25 years combined private industry and Department of Defense civilian experience, Baker has served in a variety of leadership positions in strategic planning, energy and environmental policy, and public affairs. That experience will be crucial to project delivery as BOEM works to meet the Administration’s energy goals.

Baker comes to BOEM from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers where she served as the regional program’s director for the North Atlantic Division.

Baker was a member of an Army team recognized in 2007 by the White House for the Closing the Circle Award in the “Sowing the Seeds of Change” category for her role in developing the Army Strategy for the Environment. This strategy has become a foundational document in Army sustainability initiatives.

“As a longtime student of sustainability, I’ve always sought solutions that solved multiple problems,” said Baker. “Renewable energy is a powerful tool in our nation’s portfolio that does just that — it reduces our carbon emissions, decreases our reliance on foreign sources of energy, and has the potential to create new jobs for our economy.”

Baker holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Maryland, a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from John Hopkins University and a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College.