The U.S. offshore wind industry has picked up great momentum over the past year. To highlight recent advancements, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) will host its annual Offshore WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition on October 7 and 8 at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Oceana’s Nancy Sopko will be presenting at the conference on the need for a long-term extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is critical to getting offshore wind projects financed, as it provides a 30 percent tax credit to qualified investors in offshore wind projects.
Oceana is a strong advocate for making offshore wind power a reality for many reasons:
- Spills from offshore drilling can cause irreversible damage to the health of the oceans and marine life, causing lasting effects on the ecosystem and economic loss for people who rely on the ocean for their livelihood.
- Offshore wind turbines harness a clean, safe, and infinite source of energy, while eliminating the risk of deadly oil spills, and creating good-paying American jobs.
- America has some of the best offshore wind resources in the world. Tapping into environmentally safe and responsible development of offshore wind is one of the best chances we have to end our country’s addiction to fossil fuels and finally stop the dangerous practice of oil and gas drilling in our oceans.
- If sited correctly, offshore wind could be the ocean-based part of the solution to climate change and its “evil twin,” ocean acidification.
This conference comes on the heels of some very exciting progress for offshore wind:
- Deepwater Wind has begun initial stages of construction on the Block Island Wind Farm, which hopes to officially supply power to Rhode Island residents in fall 2016.
- In August, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) auctioned 80,000 acres off the coast of Maryland to developer U.S. Wind Inc. This area has the potential to produce enough energy to power 300,000 homes.
- A week before the Maryland auction, BOEM announced the identification of three wind energy areas off the coast of North Carolina for developing offshore wind energy.
- At the beginning of July, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $150 million loan guarantee for Cape Wind, the nation’s first commercial lease, which is located offshore Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
- In May, DOE’s Wind Program selected three projects to each receive a $46.7 million grant to advance development and construction of offshore wind farms. The grants were awarded to projects in Virginia, New Jersey, and Oregon.
- Three more lease auctions are expected to be held off the coast of North Carolina, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, in wind energy areas that total 307,590 acres, 344,000 acres, and 742,000 acres respectively.
The future of U.S. offshore wind development is indeed promising! We can’t wait to hear from Nancy when she returns from the conference and gives us the scoop on what to expect for 2015!