To support offshore wind projects gearing up in their states and elsewhere along the U.S. East Coast, Senate Democrats Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Cory Booker and Robert Menendez of New Jersey unveiled a bill Aug. 11 that sets new tax and other incentives for land-based manufacturing projects deemed “qualified” to produce offshore wind components and installation vessels.
The sponsors seek to include the bill in the $3.5-trillion budget reconciliation package now being considered by Congress.
The Offshore Wind American Manufacturing Act would set a 30% investment tax credit for offshore production facilities, to be available through 2028 and step down annually until 2030. The bill also creates a production tax credit that varies by components, including blades, towers, nacelles and foundations, based on rated turbine generation capacity. It would be available through 2030.
The legislation would also require prevailing wages for workers involved in construction and expansion of qualified manufacturing sites. The bill “will help create more good jobs by building a made-in-America supply chain for all components needed for these large transformational projects,” said Warren.
The 800-MW Vineyard Wind project in Massachusetts is the first commercial-scale facility to win a federal construction permit, awarded earlier this year. It is set for completion in 2023.
Meanwhile, other east coast projects made headway in recent weeks. The U.S. Interior Dept. began environmental review of North Carolina’s first offshore wind farm, following Gov. Roy Cooper’s June announcement of a 2.8-GW state offshore wind energy goal by 2030. The project, proposed off Kitty Hawk, is being developed by Avangrid Renewables as a 69-turbine, 800-MW facility. Local officials have voiced opposition to it.
In Maryland, government and industry officials this month announced a push to expand offshore wind component production at the Tradepoint Atlantic hub near Baltimore. US Wind Inc. agreed to build a steel fabrication plant there if the state okays its 1.2-GW proposed offshore project in Ocean City.
Already set to start work on an approved 270-MW project nearby, the firm also will invest in a 90-acre Tradepoint project deployment port.
Energy firm Orsted, now developing a 120-MW Maryland project approved in 2017, proposed in July an expansion of up to 760 MW. It also is funding manufacturing site upgrades. All projects include union labor agreements. State projects also face local concerns.