June 9, 2016

Senators Whitehouse and Markey Introduce Legislation to Unleash Offshore Wind Energy Off the Shores of America

America’s first offshore wind farm off New England coast scheduled to begin delivering power by year’s end

Washington, DC – As Europe now supports roughly 60,000 jobs in the offshore wind sector, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) yesterday 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 percent 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 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.

“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 Senator 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.”

“The answer to America’s clean energy future really is blowing in the wind,” said Senator 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.”  

A copy of the Offshore WIND Act can be found HERE.

“This is a powerful job creation and clean energy bill,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski.  “The winds just off of our coasts are strong and steady, and this bill will help us put thousands of Americans to work in tapping this enormous domestic clean energy resource.”

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.).

In April, Senators 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.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921