The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), in conjunction with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), announced a Call for Information and Nominations (Call) to develop wind on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Wind developers are invited to submit proposals that identify locations within the designated Call area where they would seek commercial leases to develop wind energy projects.
The Call area is off the shores of Rhode Island and Massachusetts -- both states agreed to explore offshore wind development in July 2010. The announcement is part of DOI's Smart from the Start initiative. Launched in November of last year, the initiative is a coordinated federal-state effort to speed the siting, leasing and construction process of new offshore wind energy projects.
In February, BOEMRE identified four offshore wind areas in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia and expects to begin the leasing process in those states as early as 2012.
In October 2010, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed a lease for the Cape Wind Project -- the first lease for an offshore wind farm in the federal waters of the United States. The Cape Wind Project, which is located Nantucket Sound on the Outer Continental Shelf, is now closing in on its construction phase.
The most recent announcement from DOI comes one month after the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power (IWOP) Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate.
This legislation seeks to provide "the offshore wind industry with enhanced stability by extending investment tax credits for the first 3,000 MW of offshore wind facilities placed into service – which is an estimate of 600 wind turbines."
According to the bill's sponsors, the tax credits are necessary because of the longer lead time needed to permit and construct offshore wind turbines, relative to onshore wind energy. Under the proposed law, developers would have five years to install the offshore wind farm after receiving the tax credit. Companies would not be able to receive other production or investment tax credits in addition to the offshore wind investment tax credit, however.
Commenting on Interior's Call for wind energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) a co-sponsor of the IOWP Act, said, "Rhode Island stands ready to fuel tomorrow's energy economy by building turbines for offshore wind farms, creating good-paying jobs in a new manufacturing industry here."
He added, “Secretary Salazar’s announcement today is an important step toward realizing that goal, and is a testament to our state’s leadership in this area."
Image Credit: s-ariga via Flickr
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