Washington, D.C., May 31, 2013—Today's launch of "VolturnUS 1:8," the first grid-connected floating offshore wind turbine to be deployed in the U.S., is "another signal of steady progress toward development of an American offshore wind industry," according to Christopher Long, Manager of Offshore and Siting Policy for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
The floating turbine's launch in Brewer, Me. was attended by a bipartisan delegation including the governor and several members of Congress. It follows a series of advances for offshore wind over the past year, Long said, including:
·Extension of the Production Tax Credit and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for projects that start in 2013. The ITC is particularly important to helping launch the U.S. offshore wind industry because offshore projects are more capital-intensive and have longer permitting timelines. "It will take predictable public policy for the U.S. wind energy industry to achieve all that it's capable of doing to meet America's future energy needs and create jobs for the U.S. economy," Long said.
·Advances by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), an agency within DOI, in leasing and permitting offshore wind sites in several areas off the Eastern U.S. coast, ranging from Maine to Virginia.
·Several offshore wind projects in the advanced stages of development.
·Launch by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) of a multi-year $180 million initiative for advanced technology demonstration projects aimed at technology innovation and reducing the cost of energy from offshore projects. The first round of winners includes seven projects spanning from the Atlantic Coast, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and West Coast. This will leverage private funds that will pay the majority of the cost of the projects.
A coordinated strategic plan, A National Offshore Wind Strategy: Creating an Offshore Wind Industry in the United States, was released in 2011 by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and DOE. The plan seeks to achieve deployment of 10 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2020 and 54 GW by 2030.
The continued progress toward offshore wind in the U.S. will be the focus of the AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER 2013 Conference & Exhibition, America's largest annual offshore wind gathering, scheduled for Providence, R.I., October 22-23, 2013.