U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today applauded announcements by the U.S. Departments of Energy and Interior aimed at encouraging the development of offshore wind power production. Rep. Pascrell, a House Ways and Means Committee member who authored the federal Offshore Wind Power Act in July, said that Congress should follow the administration's steps by encouraging private investment in job-creating green energy enterprises.
"As the federal government affirmed its commitment to developing offshore wind energy today, it identified the area of the New Jersey shore as the largest potential site for an offshore wind farm," said Pascrell. "While the generous amount of available federal funding and the expedited environmental studies are great news, we in Congress have recognized that taxpayers alone cannot shoulder the development of this new, promising industry. My bill would encourage private investment and create jobs here in the Garden State. I look forward to working with my colleagues for its reintroduction very soon."
In July, Rep. Pascrell introduced The Offshore Wind Power Act, which would allow investments in geothermal and offshore wind facilities to be eligible for the federal 30 percent investment tax credit, which would spur billions of dollars in private investment.
This extension of the tax credit is intended to encourage the construction of wind power facilities slated to be built at locations off the eastern seaboard, including one project near Atlantic City, N.J. Each of these facilities will require heavy equipment, including massive wind turbines, to be manufactured near the project's location.
The legislation would also amend a part of the 2010 tax compromise that requires construction of offshore wind power projects to begin before the end of 2011 in order receive the tax credit. Through the bill, all offshore wind power projects would be eligible for the tax credit as long as construction begins before Dec. 31, 2017.
This change would accommodate the approximately 5-year period to build an offshore wind power facility -- as opposed to a land-based facility, which typically takes about three years to build.
Today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu jointly announced the formulation of the National Strategic Work Plan for Offshore Wind. The effort is the first-ever interagency plan on offshore wind energy. It focuses on overcoming three key challenges: the relatively high cost of offshore wind energy; technical challenges surrounding installation, operations, and grid interconnection; and the lack of site data and experience with project permitting processes.
As part of the plan, Secretary Salazar identified four Wind Energy Areas offshore the mid-Atlantic as part of Interior's "Smart from the Start' approach announced in November 2010 that uses appropriate designated areas, coordinated environmental studies, large-scale planning and expedited approval processes to speed offshore wind energy development.
The areas -- on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore New Jersey (417 square nautical miles), Delaware (122), Maryland (207), and Virginia (165) -- will receive early environmental reviews that will help to lessen the time required for review, leasing and approval of offshore wind turbine facilities.
In support of this Strategic Work Plan, Secretary Chu announced today the release of three solicitations, representing up to $50.5 million over 5 years, to develop breakthrough offshore wind energy technology and to reduce specific market barriers to its deployment.