Offshore Wind: Can the U.S. Catch Up with Europe?


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The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing examining the role of offshore wind domestically and internationally. Wind blows more powerfully and steadily over water than land, enabling offshore wind farms to generate a greater amount of consistent electricity than their onshore counterparts. Despite its benefits, the offshore wind industry is still in its nascent phase in the United States, where there are currently no operational offshore wind farms.

The first U.S. offshore wind project is expected to come online in summer 2016 at Block Island, 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind is leading the Block Island project, which will generate 50 megawatts (MW) of power, enough to run 17,000 homes. U.S. Wind is working on a much larger project off the coast of Maryland, where it plans to have 500 MW of offshore wind operating by 2020. Offshore wind is a far more mature power source in Europe, with more than 10 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power currently operating. What is the future of offshore wind in the United States? Can the U.S. offshore wind industry match Europe’s success?

Speakers

  • Senator Thomas CarperU.S. Senator, Delaware (D)
  • Senator Jack Reed U.S. Senator, Rhode Island (D).
  • Fatima Ahmad Manager, Federal Regulatory Affairs and Offshore Wind, American Wind Energy Association
  • Jeff Grybowski CEO, Deepwater Wind (Block Island project, Rhode Island)
  • Paul Rich Director, Project Development, U.S. Wind (Maryland)
  • Georg Maue First Secretary for Energy and Climate, Embassy of Germany
  • Tom Simchak Policy Advisor, Energy, Embassy of the United Kingdom

Efforts in the Senate have sought to catalyze the young U.S. industry. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) reintroduced the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act this past July, to provide a 30 percent investment tax credit for the first 3,000 MW of offshore wind put online. Such an incentive would help the United States realize some of offshore wind’s potential, which the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates is more than 4,000 GW, enough to meet all U.S. electricity needs four times over.

With 82 offshore wind farms and 10,393.6 MW of installed wind energy capacity, the European Union leads the world in the production of offshore wind energy. And its lead is growing. Europe has been installing offshore wind turbines at a staggering pace—in the first six months of 2015, Europe installed 2,342.9 MW of offshore wind. With 15 wind farms currently under construction, that will bring the sum to 4,268.5 MW. As Europe’s offshore wind leaders, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Germany have proved that offshore wind is a valuable source of clean energy.

Offshore wind conferences are being held in Baltimore, MD, by the Business Network for Offshore Wind on September 28, and by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) on September 29-30.

A live webcast will be streamed at 2:30 PM EDT at www.eesi.org/livecast (wireless connection permitting)

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to expedite check-in.

Location

Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 406
Constitution Avenue and 1st Street, NE
Washington DC

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