House panel set to examine offshore wind energy bills

Source: Rob Hotakainen, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, June 25, 2018

A House Natural Resources panel this week will take up three bills aimed at giving a boost to offshore wind projects in federally controlled waters.

One bill, H.R. 5291, would create a new federal grant program to educate and train offshore wind workers as they transition from other industries. It would give priority to community colleges and organizations that aid minority populations.

The second bill would require the federal government to devise a schedule and plan for offshore leases, while the third bill would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to apply to U.S. territories such as Guam.

The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will discuss the three bipartisan measures tomorrow.

So far, H.R. 5291 is the only bill that has been formally introduced, but the panel intends to debate the other two as “discussion drafts.”

H.R. 5291 is sponsored by Massachusetts Democratic Reps. Niki Tsongas and Bill Keating and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

“We need to focus our efforts on clean power instead of dirty fossil fuels, and that’s what this bill does,” Grijalva said when the bill was introduced in March.

Tsongas said the nation is “in the midst of a clean energy revolution,” noting that the number of jobs in Massachusetts linked to renewable and clean energy has grown by 81 percent since 2010.

“Our legislation helps ensure that local workers are fully trained and ready to pave the way for growth and innovation in this rapidly growing clean energy industry,” she said.

Schedule: The hearing is Tuesday, June 26, at 10 a.m. in 1324 Longworth.

Witnesses: James Bennett, chief of the Office of Renewable Energy Programs at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and Randall Luthi, president of the National Ocean Industries Association.