NRDC outlines how states can spur project development

Source: Michelle Merlin, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An environmental group released a report today promoting offshore wind energy as a smart investment for coastal states.

The Natural Resources Defense Council report faults the United States for failing to provide incentives to develop offshore wind.

“The underlying limiting factor for offshore wind, a factor not found in places where the sector has advanced, is that the basic economic and financial conditions for offshore wind success are not in place,” the group said. “Without them, investors are not comfortable providing capital for these projects, and the sector inevitably will struggle to get off the ground.”

States can promote wind power development, the report says, by providing incentives to ensure revenue for project developers, protecting consumers from electricity price increases by refunding excess money earned, and creating a partnership between offshore wind companies and banks to ensure the availability of capital.

“In short, by following the policy guidelines outlined by NRDC, coastal states can tap into a limitless clean energy resource that lies just off our shores and start a virtuous cycle that increases investment, jobs and energy security while rewarding and protecting investors and consumers alike,” said Doug Sims, the report’s author.

Currently, three U.S. offshore wind projects are in the works: in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts; off Block Island, R.I.; and near Atlantic City, N.J.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is also moving to link the state’s electricity to offshore wind (Greenwire, Feb. 5).

Many of NRDC’s suggestions are based on policies in European countries, especially Germany, which enacted a tariff to stimulate offshore wind investment.

Click here to see the NRDC analysis