Officials in the offshore wind industry are cheering a series of moves by Congress and federal agencies that have raised hopes that wind farms could soon sprout in U.S. waters. While construction of the first turbines off the Eastern Seaboard is likely years away, industry officials say the Senate Finance Committee’s decision this month to extend the investment tax credit, combined with continued approvals of projects and lease areas from federal agencies, has sent a strong signal to potential investors.
The Interior Department today announced it will begin reviewing a Norwegian company’s proposal to build what would be the nation’s first floating wind farm off the coast of Maine. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it will prepare an environmental impact statement on Statoil North America’s proposal to construct a 12-megawatt demonstration project about 12 miles off the Gulf of Maine.
President Barack Obama assailed rival Mitt Romney Thursday for opposing tax credits for wind energy producers, a vulnerability for the Republican in Colorado and Iowa, two battleground states that have thousands of good manufacturing jobs tied to the nascent industry.
Speaking not far from a wind turbine manufacturing plant here on the hot plains, President Obama on Thursday contrasted his support for keeping alive an expiring tax credit for wind energy producers with the opposition of Mitt Romney to that subsidy and others for clean energy alternatives to oil. Mr. Obama’s attacks followed days of veiled criticism of Mr. Romney’s stance by Republican leaders in Colorado and Iowa, both election battlegrounds that are among the leading states in trying to harness wind power. The issue dogged Mr. Romney on Wednesday in Iowa and last week in C
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has been savaging what it calls President Barack Obama’s “unhealthy” obsession with “green jobs.” The Republican challenger criticizes the government program that propped up solar manufacturer Solyndra, and he mocks Obama’s vision of a boom in employment, citing a European study to argue that new solar or wind-energy positions would destroy jobs elsewhere. But when a campaign spokesman said last week that Congress should let a tax break for wind energy producers expire at the end of the year, some Republicans were concerned the candidate had gone too far
The Obama administration said it will begin reviewing a proposed transmission project to connect a wind farm off the Rhode Island coast after confirming there is no competitive interest in the area. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management finding is an important step for Deepwater Wind LLC’s 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm, which would be located within Rhode Island’s state waters.
Kicking off a daylong gathering here devoted to promoting clean energy, the wind industry touted hitting a new milestone in installed capacity as industry representatives and their supporters in the Obama administration and on Capitol Hill called for an extension of a key tax break for wind electricity generation. With the first wind farm in Nevada coming online tomorrow, total installed capacity in the United States has reached 50 gigawatts, enough to power 13 million homes, said Denise Bode, head of the American Wind Energy Association. Bode told reporters at a news conference here that the industry was able to hit that capacity — double the 25 GW that was installed four years ago — because of a consistent ability to rely on the production tax credit.
The Obama administration yesterday said it will expedite approval of seven commercial-scale solar and wind projects on federal and tribal lands in Arizona, California, Nevada and Wyoming. The projects, which include a sprawling wind energy facility in southern Wyoming that would be the largest in North America, would generate a combined 5,000 megawatts, enough to power up to 1.5 million homes, the White House said.
Vast swaths of land on U.S. military bases will be available for renewable energy development under an agreement between the Interior Department and the Pentagon announced this afternoon. More than half the land used by the military in the United States — 16 million acres — is actually owned by the Interior Department.
Exelon Corp. is calling for an end to production tax credits for wind power that will expire this year unless Congress acts to renew them. Christopher Crane, president and CEO of the Chicago-based utility, said during an earnings call Wednesday that the tax incentives have already been in place for two decades and should be halted.