Bill would provide stable tax incentives for offshore wind industry
As more than a hundred wind industry representatives descended on Capitol Hill today for a coordinated lobbying effort to support a national renewable energy standard, there is a different proposal also now on the table, one that would provide incentive for the more elusive deepwater wind energy potential off the United States coast.
The bipartisan Carper-Snowe-Brown-Collins Deepwater Offshore Wind Incentive Act would provide a tax credit of 3.04 cents per kilowatt for the first 6,000 megawatts of deepwater offshore wind production in the United States. The tax credit would be in place until 2030.
"If we are to be serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing clean energy jobs we must provide dependability and consistency to tax policies that have a history of working," said Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the bill's co-sponsors.
Deepwater wind, defined as those structures in water depths of greater than 60 meters, not only captures a larger and more consistent wind energy resource, it avoids NIMBY issues related to view shed and perceived impact on property values.
The greatest offshore wind energy potential in the U.S. lies off the Atlantic Coast which holds 1,000 gigawatts of electricity, or one quarter of national demand. On the west coast, approximately 900 gigawatts of wind energy capacity sits in the deep waters off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington.
Deepwater wind energy development like the HyWind project in Norway employs floating turbines that are counterweighted with a deep ballast and moored to the bottom of the ocean so they can sway and absorb the pressure of the ocean waves -- waves that would snap a traditional steel turbine tower planted in the bottom of the ocean.
Follow Tim Hurst on twitter @ecopolitologist