U.S. Lawmakers Band Together On Offshore Wind Incentive Bill

Posted by Betsy Lillian on May 12, 2017 No Comments
Categories : Featured, Policy Watch

In an effort to continue spurring offshore wind in the country, U.S. Sens. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., along with Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin, D-2nd District, have reintroduced the Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development Act (the Offshore WIND Act).

The bill would extend the 30% investment tax credit for offshore wind through 2025. The 2015 omnibus bill extended the production tax credit and ITC for wind until 2019, but because of the longer planning and permitting times currently needed for offshore wind, the legislators explain, the U.S. Department of Energy has found that no additional offshore wind projects are projected to be able to qualify for these tax credits before they expire.

The U.S.’ first offshore wind project, Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm, began operations in December after being initiated nearly nine years ago, the lawmakers point out.

“The WIND Act puts the ‘win’ in wind energy,” quips Markey, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “Offshore wind projects are a crucial part of America’s energy future. Offshore wind has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs in Massachusetts and up and down the East Coast, encourage local innovation, and reduce carbon pollution. But in order to realize this potential, we need to provide this nascent industry the long-term certainty in the tax code that it needs.”

“I’m proud to say that America’s first offshore wind farm is powering Rhode Island homes and businesses with clean, renewable energy,” adds Whitehouse, also a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “Building the wind farm off Block Island has been a boost for our economy, and those turbines are already reducing our region’s carbon footprint. This bill will extend an important investment tax credit to expand the benefits of offshore wind we’re enjoying in Rhode Island to coastal communities across the country.”

Other lawmakers co-sponsoring the legislation are U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Cory Booker, D-N.J.; and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Groups supporting the bill include the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment America, the Sierra Club, Oceana, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Mass Audubon, and the Conservation Law Foundation.

“Rhode Island has positioned itself as a leader in offshore wind with the Block Island Wind Farm – the first of its kind in the United States,” notes Langevin, who serves as energy task force chair on the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition in the House of Representatives. “By incentivizing additional such projects, the Offshore WIND Act will encourage other states to follow Rhode Island’s example. Clean energy is our nation’s future, and we need a sustained commitment to investments in more efficient and sustainable energy solutions.”

A copy of the Offshore WIND Act can be found here.

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