Delaware Congressional Delegation Introduces Legislation to Spur Offshore Wind Industry

Proposal would extend incentives for offshore projects in Delaware and across U.S.

WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Rep. John Carney (all D-Del.) introduced the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act to provide critical financial incentives for investment in offshore wind energy. This legislation would provide the offshore wind industry with enhanced stability by extending investment tax credits for the first 3,000 Megawatts of offshore wind facilities placed into service, which is an estimate of 600 wind turbines. These tax credits are vital for this new clean energy technology because of the longer lead time for the permitting and construction of offshore wind turbines, compared to onshore wind energy. Once awarded a tax credit, companies would have five years to install the offshore wind facility. Companies would not be able to receive other production or investment tax credits in addition to the offshore wind investment tax credit.

“Developing wind energy off our nation’s shores, especially in places like Delaware, is a critical part of boosting American energy independence and jumpstarting our clean energy economy,” said Senator Carper. “Offshore wind is a true ‘win-win-win’ – it is cleaner for our environment, reduces our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign energy, and helps create jobs. If we want to harness this untapped, domestic energy source, providing investment tax incentives for our country’s first offshore wind projects is essential. Our bill would do just that. Additionally, it would help spur an industry that can be an engine for new, good-paying jobs in manufacturing, construction, maintenance and production. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this legislation and encourage the growth of the American offshore wind industry.”

“Wind energy generated off our shores has the potential to strengthen domestic energy production, lower energy costs, and create jobs,” Senator Coons said. “This bill will help get turbines moving and, in conjunction with other policies, could help get the first generation of offshore wind projects providing clean, sustainable electricity to our communities.”

“As Congress works to responsibly reduce our deficit, we need to continue to maintain important investments in areas critical to economic growth, like renewable energy, manufacturing and job training programs,” said Congressman Carney. “Offshore wind power is a rapidly growing industry around the world. By incentivizing companies to develop offshore wind operations in the United States, we will reduce our dependency on foreign oil, while creating good-paying manufacturing jobs right here in Delaware. I look forward to working with my Democratic and Republican co-sponsors in both the House and Senate to pass this important piece of legislation.”

The legislation defines offshore facilities as any facility located in the inland navigable waters of the United States, including the Great Lakes, or in the coastal waters of the United States, including the territorial seas of the United States, the exclusive economic zone of United States, and the outer Continental Shelf of the United States.

Offshore wind offers enormous potential for producing clean domestic energy and helping create good jobs in areas located close to large population centers along the coasts. Because offshore wind blows faster and more uniformly at sea than the wind on land, it is a huge untapped resource for clean American power. According to the University of Delaware, the winds off the Atlantic Coast have the potential of generating 330 Gigawatts of power. That is enough power to replace about 300 dirty, large coal plants and enough power to support nine states from Massachusetts to North Carolina. Additionally, building and operating these wind farms would create economic opportunities along our coasts. Learning from European countries, who have seen over 50 offshore wind projects deployed since 1991, we know an offshore wind project can create up to 1,500 jobs in construction and operation and maintenance alone.

A number of proposed offshore wind projects are moving through the development process, including projects in Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Maine. Projects have also been discussed off the shores of Maryland and the Great Lakes states.

Joining Sens. Carper and Coons on the Senate legislation as cosponsors are Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez (NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed (RI), Sherrod Brown (OH), Angus King (ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Elizabeth Warren and Mo Cowan (MA), and Ben Cardin (MD).

In addition to Rep. Carney, Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. and Frank LoBiondo (NJ) are cosponsoring the House legislation.

The Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act of 2013 by