Environment Virginia says leaders from the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority, the City of Norfolk and the Virginia Ship Repair Association recently joined the group to detail the benefits of offshore wind power and its related supply chain industries, as well as to call on the state's legislators to support extending federal incentives for wind energy.
Environment Virginia says the potential for Virginia to help lead the offshore wind industry is squarely in view. In September, a Virginia-based subsidiary of Dominion won the nation's second offshore wind lease. Dominion was also one of seven national finalists awarded first-round funding for offshore wind project development from the U.S. Department of Energy.
"Hampton Roads is known for its tremendous maritime workforce, shipbuilding capabilities, and deep ports with unlimited clearance," said Larry Lombardi, business development manager for the City of Norfolk. "The emerging offshore wind industry can change this region's economic landscape toward greater job growth, higher wages and an increase in tax revenues."
Although the offshore wind industry has moved forward in leaps and bounds, Environment Virginia says there are still challenges ahead for Virginia, such as continued financial support for a sector still in its infancy. The group says the U.S.' recent progress on wind is largely the result of the investment tax credit (ITC) and the production tax credit, which are currently set to expire by year-end.
"Dominion Power can only move forward as quickly as it makes sense for ratepayers in Virginia, and they certainly need to get approval from the State Corporation Commission. It is also important that Congress renew the tax credits that are so important for alternative energy development," noted Bob Matthias, chair of the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority, a state authority facilitating the development of the offshore wind energy industry.
Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators led by Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Thomas Carper, D-Del., introduced the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act (S.401), which Environment Virginia says would provide the financial certainty needed to unleash the U.S.' offshore wind potential by providing an ITC for offshore wind power worth up to 30% of the cost of the project for the first 3 GW of offshore wind projects in the U.S.
However, Environment Virginia says Virginia's U.S. Senators are not currently among the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act's committed supporters.
"Wind energy is improving our quality of life in this country. We know the benefits, but we need political will, too," said Environment Virginia's Madison Poche.
"To make sure Virginia doesn't miss out on this opportunity, I urge Virginia's U.S. Senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, to do whatever it takes to extend federal wind incentives before the end of the year. Sens. Warner and Kaine should support the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act without delay."