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Pamela Glass Wind-farm vessels for the U.S.?


January 22, 2013 With the presidential inauguration behind us, and a new Congress starting up, there’s one less thing on their to-do list.

As part of the famed fiscal cliff deal, Congress gave the wind power industry a boost, and in doing so, also boosted the workboat sector.

The deal would extend for one year the energy tax credit that provides a 2.2-cents per kilowatt-hour subsidy — which proponents prefer to call a much- needed financial incentive — to energy produced by wind power. This will cover all projects that start in 2013.

This is good news for workboat companies and shipyards that have been closely watching the development of offshore wind farms as a new business opportunity. Construction and maintenance phases will require specially designed offshore wind-farm vessels for transporting workers, supplies and materials to offshore wind sites. Construction usually takes two years, and the lifespan of a wind farm is 25 years.

The extension has added some stability to the market, which had slowed in recent years due to financial concerns, the expiring tax credit, and environmental issues. So far, all offshore projects are in the planning or research phases, and unlike Europe, the U.S. has not erected one offshore turbine. Europe has several wind-farm vessels in operation.

Supporters now predict that this will be a busy year for wind, as two projects off the New England coast are set to begin construction, and others are in the pipeline.

In addition, the Obama administration has identified two more offshore areas along the East Coast suitable for wind farms with leases going to competitive bid this year, and has announced $47 million in grants to demonstrate direct drive turbines and new types of foundations for offshore wind.

So things are moving forward. For sure, environmental and cost concerns persist, but these are all positive developments for the workboat industry, and for national energy production as well.

 

Expand/View Comments -  4 Comments
01/27/2013 23:01:24 Pamela Glass says:

Hi John, thanks for sharing your views. I have not heard about any moves to include wave power in the wind subsidy. I would think that expanding this energy tax credit would be difficult, however, because it was already tough and controversial to get it passed to help just wind power. Your point about wave power helping shipyards is a good one. You might want to contact your congressman and senators and let them know about the benefits of wave turbine projects..

01/27/2013 23:01:22 Pamela Glass says:

Hi John, thanks for sharing your views. I have not heard about any moves to include wave power in the wind subsidy. I would think that expanding this energy tax credit would be difficult, however, because it was already tough and controversial to get it passed to help just wind power. Your point about wave power helping shipyards is a good one. You might want to contact your congressman and senators and let them know about the benefits of wave turbine projects..

01/22/2013 15:36:17 John A Richards says:

Pamela, This is great news. As shipyards enter the 21st Centruy we all look to new markets and the wind farm is a great one. Have you heard if Congress is considering the same subsidy for wave action turbines as an energy source? The large scale of these turbines and their marine mechanics make them well suited for production in shipyards. The innovation and the market would expand if they were also under the same subsidy - considered as using the wind, no? John Richards of Galley Design and Sales

01/22/2013 15:31:34 John A Richards says:

When will congress include wave action and wave generated power as part of the wind farm subsidy? There are many large-scale wave fed turbine projects that could use similar boosts and their marine mechanics and large scale are such that many shipyards would benefit.

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