New England senators push bill for tax incentives for offshore wind

Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on June 8 introduced legislation that would spur the growth of offshore wind energy in the United States.

The Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development (WIND) Act would extend the 30% Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind through 2025. Last year’s omnibus bill extended the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for wind until 2019, but because offshore energy development requires longer planning and permitting times, the U.S. Department of Energy has found that no offshore wind projects are projected to be able to qualify for these tax credits before they expire.

The first offshore wind project, developed by Deepwater Wind near Block Island, Rhode Island, is expected to come online later this year after being initiated nearly eight years ago.

“The answer to America’s clean energy future really is blowing in the wind,” said Sen. Markey, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and chair of the Senate Climate Clearinghouse. “Offshore wind projects hold tremendous promise for our nation and for Massachusetts as an engine to create tens of thousands of jobs, harness homegrown innovation, and reduce carbon pollution. We are the Saudi Arabia of offshore wind in New England and we need to harness that potential by providing long-term certainty to this industry in the tax code.”

“Southern New England is home to America’s first offshore wind project, which has created jobs for Rhode Islanders and is poised to provide clean, renewable energy to Rhode Island homes and businesses. It’s been a boost for our economy, and it will help to reduce the carbon pollution driving climate change,” said Sen. Whitehouse, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and co-chair of the Senate Climate Action Task Force. “This bill will keep an important tax credit on the books so New England and other coastal and Great Lakes areas can continue to reap the benefits of offshore wind.”

Other Senators co-sponsoring the legislation are: Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

The bill says: “The term ‘offshore facility’ means 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.”

In April, Markey and Whitehouse led a group of Democratic Senators in calling on Senate leadership to extend tax programs to help spur the development of offshore wind energy.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.