WASHINGTON, D.C. - A bipartisan group of five U.S. Senators introduced legislation today that would spur research on potential offshore wind projects, expand incentives for offshore wind development, and require the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a comprehensive roadmap for the deployment of offshore wind. A vast untapped source of renewable energy, offshore wind power is projected to provide pollution-free electricity to millions of homes in the U.S. by 2030. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown introduced the Program for Offshore Wind Energy Research and Development (POWERED) Act of 2010, which has been cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Thomas R. Carper (D- DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME). Ted Kaufman (D-DE).
"Offshore wind is a chance to show America's leadership in clean energy manufacturing," Brown said. "The POWERED Act will ensure that the U.S. plays an important role in the research, development, and commercialization of wind power."
The Program for Offshore Wind Energy Research and Development (POWERED) Act of 2010, would provide grants to conduct research and analysis on implementation of offshore wind power projects, expand incentives for offshore wind development, and require the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a comprehensive roadmap to overcome the technical and regulatory barriers to deployment of offshore wind.
"The POWERED Act creates a national offshore wind roadmap to move offshore wind to a reality in this country. Harnessing our nation's offshore wind means reliable power, clean air, and good paying American jobs. Just off the Atlantic Coast, we have enough energy to replace 300 dirty, large coal plants and enough power to support nine states from Massachusetts to North Carolina. And in Delaware alone, we expect the Rehoboth Bluewater Wind offshore wind project to create 1200 jobs during construction and 280 long-term jobs."
Senator Susan Collins said, "I am pleased to join my colleagues supporting this bill that will focus national efforts to develop offshore wind technologies. This should be a national priority because it can produce clean, renewable energy for major U.S. population centers. The 28 coastal U.S. states use 78 percent of the electricity in the U.S. For example, Maine's offshore wind resource is close to the 55 million people who live in New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This is 18 percent of the total U.S. population. Developing cost-competitive offshore wind technology will require improvements in the efficiency, reliability, and capacity of offshore wind turbines and reductions in the cost of manufacturing, construction, deployment, generation, and maintenance of offshore wind energy systems. This bill will support research and development efforts to achieve those improvements."
"The United States has a tremendous opportunity to build the world's leading offshore industry and produce the bulk of our nation's electricity miles from our country's largest cities," said Senator Snowe. "We must seize this opportunity by investing research into the technical challenges and developing the environmental best practices to streamline this developing industry to an American employer and producer of clean American energy. I am proud to have worked with Senator Brown and my colleagues on this legislation and look forward to enacting the POWERED Act into law."
The POWERED Act would expand incentives for offshore wind development by increasing the allowance of renewable energy tax credits for offshore wind under a national renewable energy standard. This provision is aimed at addressing the higher up-front capital costs of developing offshore wind resources, as well as the strength of wind resources found offshore. Offshore wind offers enormous potential for producing domestic sources of clean energy and good-paying jobs in areas located close to large coastal population centers.
Specifically, the POWERED Act would:
Authorize Research for Successful Deployment: This bill would authorize the DOE to establish the Offshore Wind Power Research and Development Program to assist and coordinate offshore wind power analysis and implementation efforts. Under the Program, grants would be made to states, academic institutions, and industry-academic consortia to conduct wind power analysis in such critical areas as:
• Development of state policies for use of offshore wind power in state power planning, including incentives for development
• Development of plans for integration of wind resources into the electric grid including transmission, storage, and responsive load
• Potential wildlife and ecological impacts
• Research on technologies that will improve the reliability and reduce cost of offshore turbines
Expand Incentives for Offshore Wind Development: In acknowledgement of the higher up-front capital cost for developing offshore wind resources, as well as the high-quality nature of the resources near population centers, the legislation increases the allowance of renewable energy credits for offshore wind under a national renewable energy standard.
Provide a Roadmap to an Offshore Wind Power Future: This bill would require the Department of Energy to develop a comprehensive roadmap for offshore wind power. The roadmap would include a stakeholder process with the following areas of focus:
• An assessment of the technological advances required to make offshore wind more cost competitive
• Recommendations for Federal and State policies that will promote offshore wind power development
• An assessment of the domestic manufacturing capability and workforce training required for expanding offshore wind development
• A compilation of previous analyses that have been conducted in the U.S. on the potential for offshore wind power
Offshore wind offers enormous potential for producing domestic sources of clean energy and good-paying jobs in areas located close to large coastal population centers. Brown is also the original cosponsor of S. 3062, legislation which would provide the offshore wind industry with enhanced stability by extending production and investment tax credits for offshore wind 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.
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