Offshore wind is the next major source of American energy. Realizing offshore wind’s potential will generate clean electricity near many of the country’s largest population centers, revitalize coastal and port communities, and create thousands of jobs and a new U.S. supply chain. In fact, offshore wind could create 46,000 jobs over the next few years according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and it represents a $70 billion supply chain opportunity. And these jobs aren’t just on the East Coast—offshore wind offers legacy energy firms the chance to diversify. For example, Falcon Global and Gulf Island Fabrication, two Louisiana-based firms with expertise building offshore oil rigs, helped construct the country’s first offshore project, the Block Island Wind Farm. That means offshore wind can help provide much-needed opportunities to oil and gas workers in the Gulf Coast, which has lost over 21,000 oil and gas jobs in recent years. However, policies still need to be enacted in order to realize these opportunities and ensure the continued growth of the emerging industry.
States along the East Coast have made substantial offshore wind commitments, but tax parity and regulatory certainty are necessary to bring these pledges to fruition. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) supports energy tax policy that establishes parity between technologies to deliver clean energy at the lowest cost to consumers, and we see several legislative options to get there. Short of a broader agreement on energy tax policy, consumers would benefit from a suite of policies like the offshore investment tax credit.
To ensure the states’ demand for clean energy is met, the federal government should continue processing offshore wind project plans in an expeditious manner consistent with the Administration’s directives and conduct new lease auctions. All capital-intensive energy industries need regulatory stability. A timely, transparent and predictable regulatory environment is critical to providing business certainty and securing tens of billions of dollars of additional investment in the United States. AWEA and offshore wind developers are working together with other ocean users to find solutions that help everyone prosper.