America’s offshore wind resources are immense, and it is time to get serious about bringing this significant, domestic clean energy source ashore.  National Wildlife Federation applauds Senators Carper (D-DE) and Snowe (R-ME) for their leadership in building a bipartisan coalition of support for offshore wind energy. Today’s introduction of the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Energy Act, which will provide much-needed incentives for investments in offshore wind projects, demonstrates a bipartisan commitment to advancing job-producing clean energy.

NWF has joined over 120 organizations in calling on the Obama Administration (Letter to Obama 3.7.11, Loan Guarantee Letter 6.10.11) and Congressional leaders to take positive steps forward to advance offshore wind development in a manner that is protective of our coastal and marine resources. Providing financial incentives such as an investment tax credit is a critical way to support this emerging industry that has the potential to create thousands of jobs while helping revitalize America’s manufacturing and maritime industries.

The Incentivizing Offshore Wind Energy Act is an example of exactly the kind of policies we need at this moment in time. Efforts are also underway in the House of Representatives to promote offshore wind, however two recently introduced bills – the Cutting Federal Red Tape to Facilitate Renewable Energy Act (H.R. 2170) and the Advancing Offshore Wind Production Act (H.R. 2173) – completely miss the mark (NWF letter – HR 2170 and 2173). The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement has recently taken significant steps to improve the permitting process for offshore wind, shortening the timeline and reducing costs for developers while still ensuring sufficient environmental review.  Unlike the bipartisan bill introduced today in the Senate, the House bills actually would slow down offshore wind development while failing to address the primary obstacle facing the offshore wind industry.

NWF is pleased to see interest by both Houses of Congress in offshore wind development, but encourages our Congressional leaders to focus their attention on polices that can generate the critically needed financial investments to truly grow this new industry.  NWF applauds Senators Carper and Snowe, and cosponsors Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), for their much-needed leadership to advance offshore wind energy.

With great potential to reduce harmful pollution, create thousands of high-quality jobs, and help achieve energy independence, offshore wind energy is a wise investment in America’s future.