New Bill Enabling US Coastal States to Get Half of Federal Offshore Wind Revenue

A new bill introduced in the US, called the Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies & Ecosystems (RISEE) Act, would enable the coastal states to get 50 per cent of the revenue that the country makes from offshore wind farms built in federal waters.

Currently, the law requires all revenues generated from offshore wind leases and production beyond state waters be deposited in the US Treasury, while the RISEE Act sends 50 per cent of this to adjacent states where offshore wind farms are developed.

The bill was introduced earlier this month by US Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who said the RISEE Act would both amend the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) and create a new dedicated stream of funding from future offshore wind development for coastal protection and resiliency.

Among the amendments to the GOMESA Act, the bill is making oil and gas leases from 2000-2006 eligible for future GOMESA payments to Gulf coast states and the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund. Currently, only leases from 2007 to present are eligible for GOMESA payments. 

Under the bill, the state funds from offshore wind can be used for coastal restoration, hurricane protection, or infrastructure; to mitigate damage to fish, wildlife, or other natural resources, including through fisheries science and research; and to implement a marine, coastal, or conservation management plan.

By sharing offshore wind revenues with nearby states, the bill offers budget incentives for state and local governments to facilitate successful siting processes, balancing the needs of different ocean users and getting turbines up and running, the senators said.

The bill, signed by several other US senators as co-sponsors, is supported by Ørsted, among others.

The US is expected to add massive offshore wind capacity until 2030, with the target currently set at 30 GW by then.

The country’s offshore wind target, announced this March, builds on the US President Joe Biden’s Executive Order signed in January, which called for doubling offshore wind energy production in federal waters by 2030.

Currently, the only wind turbines spinning in the federal waters are the two that make up the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) pilot project, a predecessor of a much larger offshore wind farm being developed by Dominion Energy.

Since the offshore wind executive order, the country has accelerated the permitting processes on several projects.