Permitting and Financing Challenges to Offshore Wind Development

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–June 1, 2011.  Today the House Natural Resources Committee will convene a hearing on identifying roadblocks to wind and solar energy on public lands and waters, solicting testimony from the wind and solar industry, and the Center for American Progress released “Clean Energy from America’s Oceans: Permitting and Financing Challenges to the Offshore Wind Industry,” by Michael Conathan and Richard W. Caperton. This brief provides an overview of offshore wind permitting and financing in the United States, an update on the status of a few key projects, and recommendations on how to clear a few of the remaining hurdles to promoting offshore wind development.

More than 40,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy capacity have been permitted around the globe, yet the United States accounts for barely 1 percent of that, and we have yet to generate our first watt of electricity from this abundant, carbon-free source of power. Unfortunately, in the United States, lack of a clear regulatory structure, inconsistent messages from other ocean stakeholders, congressional budget battles, opposition to specific project siting, and instability in financial markets have all played a role in preventing domestic offshore wind from becoming a reality.

Recommendations for encouraging offshore wind development include:

  • Increase government investment in offshore wind to make it more financially palatable.
  • Shape transmission rules to allow for a robust offshore grid.
  • Ensure the federal “Smart from the Start” program, which is designed to expedite offshore wind, is smart through the finish.
  • Engage stakeholders early in the process of identifying wind energy areas in “Smart from the Start.”

These recommendations will allow America to catch up to other nations currently at the vanguard of technological development. These countries are reaping the economic and employment rewards of creating a new industry while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint and making great strides toward a clean, renewable energy future. The longer we wait to begin developing this technology and creating the infrastructure and knowledge base that go along with it, the further we will fall behind the rest of the world, and the harder it will be to bring the economic development and environmental benefits to our own shores.

To download the full brief, click here.

Source: americanprogress.org