Friday, August 20, 2010

Building the Offshore Wind Power Industry

The race to build offshore wind on the east coast is not just about creating clean, renewable energy. It's about creating jobs in a multi-billion dollar industry.

The
Philadelphia Inquirer reports that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie just signed a measure that creates a target of 1.1 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity. To meet this goal, New Jersey plans to provide up to $100 million in tax credits to wind power facilities. The law also creates a system of offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs), which are similar to the RECs being issued under Delaware's expanded renewable portfolio standard. Christie wants to turn the moribund port of Paulsboro on the Delaware River into a hub of wind power manufacturing and assembly.

The News Journal reports that John Carney
wants Delaware to get the jump on wind power jobs. He toured the extensive site of Steel Erectors Suppliers, located at the old Pusey & Jones shipyard on the Christina River in Wilmington. As I wrote last fall (here and here), Carney took some unjustified heat for his efforts to put together a business deal to build the towers for the NRG Bluewater Wind project .

Delaware Governor Jack Markell touts the economic potential of wind power in
his weekly address, citing four bills he signed into law last month, including SS 1 to SB 119, which expands and extends Delaware's renewable portfolio standard, and will gives bonus RECs for projects built with local labor and supplies.

It's not hard to understand the magnitude of the opportunity. Billions of dollars are going to be spent building offshore wind farms on the east coast in the coming years, and much of the supply chain and supporting services are not in place. States are not just competing for bragging rights; they are competing to build the industry that will build the wind farms.

Update: I'll be discussing these developments with Allan Loudell on WDEL, 1150 AM, this evening at 5:07.

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