Menendez Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Spur Investments in Offshore Wind Energy

Menendez Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Spur Investments in Offshore Wind Energy

Legislation would help New Jersey expand offshore wind


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing legislation to boost investments in offshore wind power, help create thousands of good-paying American jobs and lower electric bills for consumers.  The Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act would create a new tax credit to incentivize investments in the harnessing of offshore wind power.  

“Investing in clean, renewable energy sources like wind is both good for the economy and our environment,” said Sen. Menendez.  “This is smart policy that grows jobs, keeps the U.S. at the forefront of the latest cutting edge technology, increases our global economic competitiveness, and makes our nation more secure by reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy.  New Jersey, with its vast Atlantic shoreline, is well-positioned to benefit from this legislation and to lead the nation in the development of offshore wind technology.”

The Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act would extend the wind investment tax credit (ITC) at 30 percent for offshore wind projects that commence construction by January 1, 2027 or the year after the United States has reached 3,000MW of new offshore wind capacity, whichever is later. This ensures that the ITC is available until the offshore wind industry is established in the United States.  The current wind investment tax credits (ITC) expire on January 1, 2020 and has been phasing down since 2017. 

The legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

Last week, the Murphy Administration approved the nation’s largest award for offshore wind to build a 1,100 MW project off the Jersey Shore to power roughly 500,000 New Jersey homes, create 15,000 green jobs, and generate an estimated $1.17 billion in economic benefits. 

“Building our offshore wind industry will create thousands of jobs, invite new investments into our state, and put us on a path to reaching our goal of 3,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.

Sen. Menendez has long advocated for the federal government to lease land off the New Jersey coast for the development of wind power.  He was a chief proponent of and helped secure U.S. Department of Energy funding for a windfarm project off Atlantic City that was later blocked by the Christie Administration.

Offshore wind projects create clean energy and good-paying domestic jobs. The Department of Energy estimates there is at least 2,000 gigawatts (GW) of wind power potential off our shores – in the waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico - which is more than double the electricity consumed by Americans in 2015. If the United States takes advantage of this clean energy resource, in the next ten years offshore wind could create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and pump billions of new revenue dollars into our nation’s economy.  The University of Delaware recently published a study that found offshore wind could provide up to $70 billion in revenues for businesses in the offshore wind supply chain by 2030.

The long investment time, infancy of the industry, and higher initial costs of offshore wind, make offshore wind unique from onshore wind. Investors need a quicker return on such a long-term investment, which is why to date, the investment tax credit has been more advantageous for offshore wind projects than the production tax credit. Tax certainty for the first offshore wind movers ultimately reduces costs for future projects and, by extension, for consumers. 

There is widespread support for the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act among industry and environmental organizations alike.

“Without Congressional action, the federal Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind is set to phase out this year—just as the first wave of large-scale offshore wind projects prepare to begin construction,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of American Wind Energy Association.  “At this critical moment for a new U.S. energy industry, policy stability is more important than ever. We appreciate and strongly support proposals that would extend the Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind, jumpstarting the projected $70 billion build-out of America's offshore wind infrastructure, delivering large amounts of reliable, homegrown clean energy and tens of thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy.”

“Offshore wind power can create thousands of well-paying jobs and produce gigawatt hours of low-cost clean energy, which is absolutely essential to moving toward net-zero emissions. Extending the Investment Tax Credit will accelerate the momentum behind responsibly sited, built, and operated offshore wind power,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.