Lawmaker to Propose Extending Credit to Spur U.S. Offshore Wind

Source: Joe Ryan, Bloomberg News • Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2016

U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey plans to introduce legislation “soon” to extend a federal tax credit that will spur wind-farm development in coastal waters.

The Massachusetts Democrat is seeking to extend the investment tax credit until 2025, he said at the U.S. Offshore Wind Leadership Conference in Boston Monday. The policy grants a 30 percent credit for the costs of developing renewable-energy projects.

The credit has been one a significant drivers for clean energy, especially solar farms. It was scheduled to expire at the end of this year, until Congress unexpectedly renewed it in December for five years. With the first U.S. offshore wind project currently under construction in Rhode Island, Markey’s efforts come just as the industry is starting to gain traction.

“We have an opportunity to provide a long-term extension of this tax policy because the budget experts in Washington don’t know what we in this room know,” Markey told executives at the conference. “Offshore wind is poised to take off in the United States.”

Unlike Europe, the U.S. has no operational offshore wind installations, largely because of the high cost of building at sea. Offshore wind energy costs about twice as much to produce as power from coal, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and the credit will offset some of that.