US Democratic Senators Call for Offshore Wind Tax Credit Extensions

US Democratic senators led by Edward Markey and Sheldon Whitehouse have sent a letter to Senate leadership calling for the extension of tax programs to help spur the development of offshore wind energy.

Last year’s omnibus bill extended the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) until 2019, but because offshore energy development requires longer planning and permitting times, no offshore wind projects are projected to be able to qualify for the PTC or ITC before expiration.

The first offshore wind project, developed by Deepwater Wind near Block Island, Rhode Island, is expected to come online later this year after being initiated nearly eight years ago. Other offshore projects are in various stages of planning, but depend on greater long-term certainty on the future of federal tax incentives.

“To create true parity with other renewable technologies, offshore wind needs longer-term tax credits,” write the senators in the letter to Senate leadership.

“For instance, a proposal put forward by Senators Markey and Whitehouse would extend the Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind through 2025 to give this industry sufficient time to develop these projects. Another proposal from Senators Carper and Collins, S.1736, the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act, would allow the first 3,000 megawatts of offshore projects to qualify for the ITC regardless of timing.”

Other Democratic senators signing the letter include Tom Carper, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jack Reed, Chris Coons, Jeff Merkley, Benjamin L. Cardin, and Brian Schatz.