On Monday, 25 U.S. Senators joined the growing chorus of voices calling for an extension of vital clean energy tax credits that are set to expire in two weeks unless Congress acts.
In a letter addressed to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) stressed the need for an extension of these renewable energy tax credits, including the investment tax credit (ITC) for offshore wind. He said “… as we approach the end of the calendar year, many tax programs that are critical for creating jobs, deploying clean energy, and cutting pollution are facing expiration … it is imperative that these key clean energy tax incentives are renewed as soon as possible.”
The letter, signed by 24 other senators, including independent and moderate senators like Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), urged the renewal of more than 10 renewable energy tax credits including the ITC, an immensely important incentive necessary to making offshore wind a reality. The senators underscored the importance of enacting an extension of the ITC, writing: “While the National Renewable Energy Lab has estimated that the United States has more than 4,000,000 megawatts of untapped offshore wind potential—enough to meet the power needs of the entire nation—there are currently no offshore wind facilities operating in U.S. waters…. A long-term extension of the ITC for offshore wind is needed to jumpstart this industry.” Like all new industries, including the oil and gas industry in its early years, the offshore wind industry needs a boost to get started and the ITC is the single most important incentive to help stimulate needed investment and ultimately help catapult this burgeoning industry into the mainstream.
Offshore wind will provide clean and renewable energy, create tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs, and combat global climate change. Without an end-of-year extension for these tax credits, the future of domestic offshore wind development will be left hanging in the balance. It is imperative to the offshore wind energy industry, and for our environment as a whole, that Congress heed the call of these 25 clean energy champions in the Senate and move swiftly to put together an end-of-year tax extension package that includes a long-term extension of the ITC for offshore wind.