The Block Island Times

Sen. Reed to introduce bipartisan bill to boost offshore wind in R.I.

Mar 04, 2013

NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI – In an effort to create jobs in Rhode Island and strengthen America’s energy independence, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives are introducing legislation to provide financial incentives for the investment and production of offshore wind energy.  The Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act would create an investment tax credit for the first 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind facilities placed into service, which is an estimated 600 wind turbines.  These tax credits are important because of the longer lead time for the permitting and construction of offshore wind turbines, as compared to onshore wind energy.  Once awarded a tax credit, companies would have five years to install the offshore wind facility.  Companies would not be able to receive other production or investment tax credits in addition to the offshore wind investment tax credit.

“Rhode Island has great potential to harness offshore wind to power our economy and diversify our energy supply.  Establishing commercial wind energy development in Rhode Island could potentially bring critical jobs and investment to the state.  This legislation will incentivize investment in renewable energy and help get proposed Rhode Island offshore wind projects through the development process and up and running,” said Reed, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for the U.S. Department of the Interior.

In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act which gave the U.S. Department of the Interior jurisdiction to develop renewable energy on the Outer Continental Shelf, specifically offshore wind.  Since then, several mid-Atlantic states and developers have been competing to develop offshore wind farms.

As part of the competitive leasing process, Senator Reed brought Secretary Salazar to Rhode Island in 2011 to see firsthand the work the state is doing as it seeks commercial leases for wind projects.  Secretary Salazar recently announced that sales of leases to offshore wind developers in waters off Rhode Island and Massachusetts will take place this year.

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