Langevin, Whitehouse, Reed Lead Legislation to Harness Offshore Wind Energy

May 11, 2017 Issues: Energy & Environment

Today, Congressman Jim Langevin and Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed reintroduced legislation that would spur the growth of offshore wind energy in the United States by extending tax credits for this burgeoning renewable industry. The Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development (WIND) Act would extend the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind through 2025.

“I’m proud to say that America’s first offshore wind farm is powering Rhode Island homes and businesses with clean, renewable energy. Building the wind farm off Block Island has been a boost for our economy, and those turbines are already reducing our region’s carbon footprint,” said Senator Whitehouse, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and co-chair of the Senate Climate Action Task Force. “This bill will extend an important investment tax credit to expand the benefits of offshore wind we’re enjoying in Rhode Island to coastal communities across the country.”

“I am pleased to join Senator Whitehouse and Congressman Langevin on this important piece of legislation. U.S. offshore wind energy has a lot of potential and we are proud to have helped make America’s first offshore wind farm a reality in Rhode Island. Extending the Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind would help create more good-paying, green jobs while providing clean, renewable energy, and allowing more states to follow the offshore wind model we’ve put in place in Rhode Island,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.

“Rhode Island has positioned itself as a leader in offshore wind with the Block Island Wind Farm – the first of its kind in the United States. By incentivizing additional such projects, the Offshore WIND Act will encourage other states to follow Rhode Island’s example,” said Congressman Langevin, who serves as Energy Task Force Chair on the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition in Congress. “Clean energy is our nation’s future and we need a sustained commitment to investments in more efficient and sustainable energy solutions.”

The 2015 omnibus bill extended the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for wind until 2019. However, because of the relatively long planning and permitting times required for offshore wind projects, the Department of Energy has found that no additional offshore wind projects are likely to be able to qualify for these tax credits before they expire. The first offshore wind project, developed by Deepwater Wind near Block Island began operations in December 2016 after being initiated nearly nine years ago.

“We applaud Senators Markey, Reed and Whitehouse, and Congressman Langevin for their leadership on advancing offshore wind development in the U.S.,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “Stability in tax policy is important to capital-intensive industries like renewable energy, and extending the ITC will help secure lower power prices for offshore wind farms that will power East Coast communities in the coming years.”

Other senators cosponsoring the legislation are Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

This legislation is supported by League of Conservation Voters, NRDC, Environment America, Sierra Club, Oceana, Union of Concerned Scientists, Mass Audubon, and Conservation Law Foundation.

In April 2016, Senators Markey and Whitehouse led a group of Democratic Senators that included Senator Reed in calling on Senate leadership to extend tax programs to help spur the development of offshore wind energy.