The offshore wind industry rang in 2014 on a high note: both the Cape Wind and Block Island projects will qualify for the critically important Investment Tax Credit (ITC)! These two projects are in the running to be the first offshore wind farm in the United States. But because Congress allowed the ITC for offshore wind to expire on December 31st, they also might be the only two wind farms built in U.S. waters.
Congressional inaction on important renewable energy tax extenders ignores the tremendous opportunity of domestic clean energy, especially offshore wind. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that there is enough wind potential off our coasts to power the entire United States four times over. The only way for Congress to show that the United States is serious about transitioning to a clean and domestically produced energy future, slow our impact on global climate change, and create thousands of good-paying American jobs, is to embrace a long-term extension of the ITC for offshore wind.
Like all new industries, including the oil and gas industry in its early years, the offshore wind industry needs a boost to get up and running. The ITC is the most important tax incentive for stimulating investment in this nascent industry and catapulting this clean energy resource into the mainstream. With Block Island and Cape Wind qualifying for the ITC this year, the offshore wind industry is gaining serious momentum. Congress must now continue this momentum by extending the ITC for offshore wind as soon as it can, thereby sending a clear signal to investors and manufacturers around the world that America is open for business.
We cannot let Congress phase out the offshore wind energy industry before it is ever phased in. Let your representatives and senators know how important it is for offshore wind energy, and our environment as a whole, that Congress move swiftly to put together a tax extenders package that includes a long-term extension of the ITC for offshore wind so that more projects like Cape Wind and Block Island can start generating clean, renewable, domestic energy.