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Iberdrola: U.S. Risks Killing Its Own Offshore Wind Boom

Proposals in the U.S. Congress to tie green tax credits with local content materials risk holding back the American offshore wind sector even before it has started to flourish, a top executive at a major project offshore Massachusetts told the Financial Times.

Democrats in Congress have proposed a number of tax credits and incentives for clean energy and electric vehicles (EVs) in the $3.5 trillion spending bill, but the proposals include tying some of the tax credits with the condition that the steel and other materials are produced in the United States.

However, most of the wind power industry, including offshore wind, relies very much on turbines made in Europe.

Bill White, head of offshore wind at Avangrid, part of European renewables giant Iberdrola, told FT that the local content condition would hold back the development of offshore wind, on the one hand, and raise costs, on the other hand.

Avangrid Renewables is one of the project partners of the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project, which would be the first large-scale offshore wind energy project in the United States. Vineyard Wind LLC, an offshore wind development company, is 50 percent owned by funds of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and 50 percent owned by Avangrid Renewables.

“If you put the hammer down today and basically say: ‘You can’t build an offshore wind project unless you use a US-manufactured wind turbine’, we’re dead in the water,” Avangrid’s White told FT.

“We need to think carefully about potentially protectionist impulses that might inadvertently stop the progress on building offshore wind,” White added.

Vineyard Wind 1 is an 800 megawatts (MW) project located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and is expected to become the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the United States. The project is designed to generate electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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