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Bipartisan Group of Senators Seeks to Jump Start U.S. Offshore Wind Development

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Senate Bill Provides Renewed Incentive to Stimulate Investment, Create Jobs and Increase Clean Energy Production


July 21, 2011
Washington, D.C.
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A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators today proposed an extension of the investment tax credit for offshore wind power, produced in either state or federal waters.   The proposal is the heart of a bill entitled the "Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act." 

“If passed, this bill would help transition America off fossil fuels, stimulate a new manufacturing sector and put people back to work,” said Oceana senior campaign director Jacqueline Savitz.  “Clean energy is something both sides can agree on, so this has a good chance of actually getting done this year, giving the Congress a success story,” Savitz added.

Under current law, the investment tax credit for offshore wind expires at the end of 2012.  This unrealistic deadline currently makes the financing of offshore wind projects nearly impossible.  The “Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act” would do away with this deadline and instead provide a 30 percent investment tax credit for the first 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind placed in service. 

The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), with leading co-sponsors Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jack Reed (D-RI), incentivizes investment in offshore wind projects, while prioritizing those projects that are furthest along in the development process.  By doing so, this bill creates tax certainty for the first movers in the budding domestic offshore wind industry. 

“This legislation is essential to encourage the continued growth of this fledgling industry,” said Senator Carper. “Guaranteeing these tax incentives for the first 3,000 MW will spur the industry to get these projects up and running, and encourage further development even in these challenging economic times. This support will allow companies like NRG Bluewater Wind to continue to invest in clean, stable wind energy off our nation’s shores in places like Delaware.”

“We believe the Carper-Snowe bill is exactly the kind of bold and visionary legislation that is required to get the offshore wind industry moving again,” said NRG Bluewater Wind President Peter Mandelstam.  “This proposed legislation gives a clear signal to developers and their supply chain partners that these projects have long-term policy support, rather than short-term incentives. For early movers like NRG Bluewater Wind, it provides some measure of cost-certainty needed in order to move forward in the process. We fully support the bill as written and the leadership needed for passage,” added Mandelstam.

Offshore wind developments have the potential to create hundreds of thousands of long-term jobs in the U.S.  Among the domestic jobs that could be created by a new U.S. offshore wind power sector are component manufacturing jobs, turbine assembly, transport and installation jobs, as well as maintenance and operation jobs.  Greater tax certainty for investors in offshore wind projects encourages their development, which in turn will create jobs and sustained domestic economic growth from a clean, infinite energy resource. 

“While offshore wind has the potential to create good jobs, limit our dependence on foreign sources of energy, and reduce carbon pollution, the industry needs the long-term planning horizon this bill would provide,” said Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  “Sites such as Quonset Point in Rhode Island stand ready to create jobs by building turbines for offshore wind farms, creating a new domestic manufacturing industry and bringing much-needed economic development.”

Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 500,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.