Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), along with Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Susan Collins (R-ME), introduced a bill yesterday to provide financial incentives for the investment, development and production of offshore wind. Among other things, the Carper-Snowe-Brown-Collins offshore wind bill would extend the production tax credit (PTC) for offshore wind farms until 2020. The sponsoring Senators are also working on additional legislation to support and expand offshore wind initiatives.
In other wind power related news on Capitol Hill, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and others introduced a bill which would require all projects funded by stimulus package dollars to rely solely on American-built products. The Senators also sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner pushing for a moratorium on all stimulus payouts for clean energy projects until Congress considers the bill. Under the current stimulus law, the "Buy American" provision - which requires that a project rely primarily on American-built products - applies only to "public works." The Schumer bill would extend the Buy American requirement to all renewable energy projects, including every wind farm that is being or proposed to be built with stimulus assistance. Denise Bode, the CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) issued a sharply-worded response to the bill, arguing that it would "torpedo one of the most successful job creation efforts" of the stimulus, in part because American manufacturers do not yet have the capacity to produce 100% of the required wind turbine components.
Today, Matt Rogers, a senior advisor to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and strongly challenged Senator Schumer's characterization of DOE's use of stimulus dollars. He expressed the view that the senators' proposed legislation would actually eliminate American jobs. He challenged the study underlying the proposed legislation as "misleading" and "factually false" because it only focused on the overseas headquarters of companies and failed to specifically account for actual job creation in the United States.