Recently, an important piece of legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate: an investment tax credit to support the development of offshore wind energy. Specifically, the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act would provide a tax break to develop up to 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy. Such an important piece of legislation could really help jump-start the offshore wind industry here in the U.S. But here in the Southeast, the region has not been waiting for the federal government to move on offshore wind.
According to a recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory report, nearly 1/3 of the entire country’s shallow water offshore wind resource resides off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Considering that shallow water (up to 30 meters depth) is the most important factor for near-term offshore wind development, the Southeast’s vast potential is nothing to brush off. Due to this significant resource, stakeholder groups (including the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy) in North Carolina and South Carolina recently announced plans to to collaborate in order to accelerate the development of offshore wind energy on the south Atlantic seaboard.
Additionally, the South is becoming the go-to destination for wind-related conferences. On September 14-15, American Leaders (a major professional conference management company) will be hosting the “U.S. Offshore Wind Quest” in Charleston, South Carolina. Then, the American Wind Energy Association’s major wind conference and expo – WINDPOWER – will be held in Atlanta in the summer of 2012. North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia are already enjoying the job-generating benefits of wind energy development, and the conferences will help highlight wind energy’s benefits for the region.
With all that is going on in the South, hopefully our state and federal leaders will recognize the importance of offshore wind energy and support policies like the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act. If you are interested in becoming more involved with offshore wind in the South, consider attending the “U.S. Offshore Wind Quest” in September. If you mention the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy during registration, you can receive a 10% discount.