August 2, 2017

Collins, Carper introduce bipartisan bill to spur offshore wind industry

Photo / James McCarthy
Photo / James McCarthy
Habib Dagher, director of UMaine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center, in front of the VolturnUS prototype wind turbine deployed off the shores of Castine in 2014. Legislation introduced by U.S. Sen Susan Collins, R-Maine, could benefit the Aqua Ventus and other offshore wind projects by making permanent tax credits that could be redeemed for the first 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind facilities placed into service, amounting to approximately 600 wind turbines.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Tom Carper, Del., introduced legislation on Tuesday to create financial incentives to spur the country's emerging offshore wind industry.

The Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act would create an investment tax credit that is redeemable for the first 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind facilities placed into service, amounting to approximately 600 wind turbines.

In the past, Congress has offered a temporary credit for investments in wind power, but the last extension of this credit will expire before Dec. 31, 2019.

"Maine is a leader in the emerging offshore wind industry, which holds great potential for the future of clean energy and the creation of good jobs," Collins said in a news release. "By giving private sector companies the certainty they need, our legislation will help accelerate the development of this promising industry in America and create a new, sustainable source of domestic power."

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

A consortium led by the University of Maine that includes Cianbro is actively pursuing a pilot project called New England Aqua Ventus 1 that involves building two 6-MW wind turbines two-and-a-half miles off Monhegan Island. The project is in the midst of a year-long review by the federal Department of Energy and other agencies, with a goal of installing the floating hulls at the Monhegan test site by fall 2019.

Habib Dagher, project leader for the UMaine-led consortium, has said the successful demonstration of Aqua Ventus' full-scale floating hull technology has the potential to lead to a 500 MW-scale project placed in U.S. federal waters.

Joining Collins and Carper as co-sponsors are Sens. Angus King, I-Maine; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Ben Cardin, D-Md.; Chris Coons, D-Del.; Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; Edward Markey, D-Mass.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

"Offshore wind energy has the potential to power every home, school and business from Florida to Maine with clean, renewable energy," Carper said. "Investing in new offshore wind projects spurs economic growth and has the potential to create millions of good-paying American jobs. It also helps enhance our national security by encouraging domestic energy production and protects our environment and public health by deploying a cleaner source of energy. Making smart investments to move us closer to energy independence is a win-win-win for our economy, our security, our health and our planet."

Read more

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