Washington, D.C., September, 19, 2016 — The U.S. wind energy industry today welcomed the support of a bipartisan group of 20 governors for further steps by federal agencies that could expedite siting of new wind farms, on land and offshore.
With long-term tax policy now in place, thanks to Congress passing a multi-year extension of the Production Tax Credit last December, other issues stand in the way of adding to U.S. wind energy infrastructure and fully tapping the country’s abundant wind resources.
The Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition (GWSC), representing 20 states from California to Virginia, has led for a decade on policies to increase wind energy around the country.
This morning the coalition sent a letter to President Obama from Iowa’s Terry Branstad, Chair of the Coalition, and governor of a state that gets over 31 percent of its electricity from wind; and Rhode Island’s Gina Raimondo, Vice Chair, and governor of the state with the first U.S. offshore wind farm. They wrote:
“[W]e agree that wind and solar energy development address many of our states’ and the nation’s important needs such as job creation, economic development, reliable and low cost energy, and cost-effective emission reduction…the Coalition’s collaboration with your Administration can bring even more value to our states if you consider the following actions to develop our states’ and the nation’s wind and solar resources.”
Specifically, the governors asked the Administration to consider:
- Having the Coast Guard keep working on its Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the states because, “It is not clear that the approaches detailed…properly balance the multiple uses of the ocean.”
- Further streamlining the offshore wind energy permitting process, so that BOEM and outside agencies set and meet “reasonable deadlines.”
- Ensuring that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not broaden legal liability under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) without a workable general permit process for the private sector.
- Making additional changes to a proposed eagle permit rule “to ensure the final rule is workable while continuing to protect eagles.”
- Addressing concerns that a competitive leasing proposal said to be coming from the Bureau of Land Management could hamper wind and solar development on public lands.
American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Tom Kiernan thanked the governors for their support, saying, “Wind farms are some of the greatest infrastructure projects this country has ever built, but there’s a lot more to be done if wind energy is to meet its promise. These governors are leading. They’re attuned to economic development needs and deployment challenges in their states, and they’re looking to the federal agencies to help rather than hinder.”
View GWSC’s full letter here.
AWEA is now preparing for the U.S. offshore wind energy industry’s largest conference all year, Oct. 25-26 in Warwick, Rhode Island. The AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference 2016 will bring together developers, manufacturers, investors, government representatives, environmental advocates, and many other stakeholders in the industry.