The promising future of a thriving domestic offshore wind industry moved one step closer to reality yesterday when the Department of Energy (DOE) selected three offshore wind demonstration projects, including a floating wind project on the West Coast, to receive $47 million each to help the projects deploy and begin delivering clean electricity by 2017.
The three projects, one each off the coasts of New Jersey, Virginia, and Oregon, will help move the U.S. closer to realizing the full potential of our offshore wind resources. The DOE estimates there is enough wind off our coasts to power the entire country four times over. With coastal states accounting for around 80% of U.S. electricity demand, offshore wind offers a tremendous opportunity to help move the U.S. away from dirty fossil fuels and toward a clean, renewable, energy independent future.
In the initial phase of this selection process, announced in December 2012, DOE selected seven offshore wind projects to receive $4 million to complete design, engineering, and permitting work. Yesterday’s announcement moved three of those projects to the next phase, providing $47 million to fund their design, fabrication, and deployment.
DOE is also working with two other projects — a floating wind project from the University of Maine and a pilot project from the Lake Erie Energy Development Coalition – to advance and further their offshore wind technology designs.
Oceana ocean advocate Nancy Sopko lauded the news:
"We applaud the Department of Energy’s announcement awarding nearly $150 million to three regionally and technologically diverse offshore wind projects, an announcement which represents the continued forward motion of U.S. offshore wind. These awards provide much-needed support to a growing and promising industry that will provide clean, renewable energy, while helping to slow the effects of global climate change, creating thousands of good-paying domestic jobs, and making us leaders in the global clean energy market."
This announcement continues the growing momentum we’ve seen in the U.S. offshore wind industry over the past few years. However, the continued uncertainty surrounding the availability of the critically-important Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind puts a promising clean energy future in jeopardy.
"This announcement sends a clear signal that the administration is committed to developing this clean energy, job-creating industry. But the administration cannot do this alone. Congress must renew the Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind immediately to stimulate private investment and jumpstart a thriving domestic offshore wind industry so that we can finally begin to reap all of the environmental and economic benefits of this domestic clean energy resource," said Sopko.
Oceana has met with the DOE, the Department of the Interior, and members of Congress numerous times to make the case for domestic offshore development and for the availability of incentives that will help jumpstart this development. Yesterday’s announcement shows that our work on this issue is producing results, but the offshore wind industry still needs your help. The long-term availability of the Investment Tax Credit is imperative to ensuring the continued momentum of this domestic job-creating industry. Tell your Senators and representatives in Congress to support clean wind energy for our future and extend the ITC for offshore wind.