Langevin seeks wind tax credit extension

From 2019 through 2025
Sat, 09/24/2016 - 7:45am

U.S. Rep. James Langevin (D) has introduced legislation aimed at ensuring that federal tax credits for offshore wind energy projects set to expire in 2019 will be extended to 2025. Langevin, who serves as Energy Task Force Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition in Congress, submitted the bill called the Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development Act on Thursday, Sept. 15.

“The intent of the legislation is to put offshore wind energy on the same playing field as land-based wind and other alternative energies, like solar,” Meg Geoghegan, spokesperson for Langevin, told The Block Island Times. “The House bill is identical to the Senate version introduced by” Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, both Democrats.

Geoghegan noted that in last year’s tax extension package, investment tax credits for developing land-based wind and solar were included, but an effective offshore provision was not.

“Offshore wind projects involve an extensive siting process,” Geoghegan said. “It took eight years to build the Block Island Wind Farm, so the current Investment Tax Credit, which would expire for offshore wind in 2019, doesn’t provide enough time to get new projects off the ground. This bill would extend the incentive tax credit for offshore wind from 2019 through 2025 to address this challenge.”

Geoghegan noted that the congressman’s office doesn’t know when the legislation will come to the floor for a vote. “It has to go through the committee level first, and there’s no set timeline,” she said.

As for the Block Island Wind Farm, Geoghegan said, “The Congressman is anxious to see the Wind Farm in operation, and is hopeful that it will be able to meet the projections for energy production. As the first offshore wind farm in the country, Block Island is really leading the way and setting the example for future projects that will further reduce carbon emissions and move us toward a more sustainable future.”

In Massachusetts, on Aug. 8, Gov. Charlie Baker, (R), signed comprehensive energy diversity legislation into law aimed at procuring 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind energy and another 1,200 megawatts of hydropower, or other renewable sources. The legislation requires the state to purchase greater renewable energy for a longer period of time to facilitate the signing of 15 to 20 year contracts with energy producers.  

Deepwater Wind, the company that is constructing the Block Island Wind Farm, is targeting a wind farm installation of more than 1,000 megawatts, which would be sited approximately 17 miles off the Massachusetts’ coast between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard.