Specifically, the Carper-Snowe-Brown-Collins Offshore Wind Bill provides the offshore wind farm industry with enhanced stability by extending production and investment tax credits for offshore wind turbines until 2020. These provisions are vital because of the long lead times required to permit and construct wind turbines offshore, compared to onshore wind energy.
Offshore wind includes any wind turbine located in the inland navigable waters of the United States, including coastal waters and the Great Lakes.
"This legislation is essential to encourage the continued growth of this fledgling industry," said Sen. Carper. "Guaranteeing these tax incentives through 2020 will provide companies with the certainty they need to plan for the long term 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. Harnessing our nation’s offshore wind will give us reliable, clean energy; create good-paying American jobs in manufacturing and construction; lower energy costs for consumers; and reduce harmful pollution that damages our lungs and impacts our climate."
Offshore wind offers enormous potential for producing clean domestic energy and good jobs in areas located close to large population centers along the coasts. According to the University of Delaware, the winds off the Atlantic Coast have the potential of generating 330 Giga-watts 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.
"Time after time we hear that our wind energy companies require certainty to invest in America’s renewable resources and the data reflects that consistent incentives expand renewable electricity production in the United States," said Senator Snowe. "If we are to be serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing clean energy jobs we must provide dependability and consistency to tax policies that have a history of working. I appreciate Senator Carper’s leadership in developing this long-term offshore wind tax incentive and look forward to working with him to pass this extension into law."
"Ohio’s potential for offshore wind in Lake Erie is unparalleled," said Sen. Brown. "With the right tax incentives, Ohioians can power their homes with clean energy produced right here at home. Many Ohio companies are already supplying components to the wind power industry. By increasing investments in wind power, we are also promoting American manufacturing."
"I support efforts to find a low-cost way to support the offshore wind industry," said Sen. Collins. "This bill will help diversify America’s energy supply, reduce our use of foreign oil and spur much-needed job creation."
A number of proposed offshore wind projects are moving through the development process – including projects in Delaware, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. Projects have also been discussed off the shores of Maine and the Great Lakes states.
In Delaware, NRG Bluewater Wind has estimated it will create 1,200 jobs during construction – and approximately 300 jobs for operation and maintenance throughout the life of the project.
Sens. Carper, Snowe, Brown and Collins are also working on additional legislative measures to support and expand emerging offshore wind initiatives.