Legislation has been introduced in the Senate that could help pave the way for US territories to develop offshore windfarms to meet their need for clean energy.
National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) president Randall Luthi released the following statement after Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the ‘Offshore Wind for Territories Act’ to the Senate.
Mr Luthi said, “NOIA applauds the bipartisan leadership of Senator Cassidy and Senator Schatz in introducing the Offshore Wind for Territories Act to the Senate. The US territories are in need of improved energy security and new sources of economic growth. This bill can achieve both for our territories.
“Thanks to the leadership of Representative Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), the House already has its version of this bill. NOIA is excited to work with both Chambers to pass this bipartisan legislation to improve the lives of the millions of Americans who call the US territories home.”
As highlighted here, interest is growing in developing renewable energy to meet the needs of islands such as those in US territories, and in Europe, particularly populous ones, where energy costs are significant because the raw materials invariably have to be imported. Imports can all too easily be interrupted and if based on oil, can fluctuate in price significantly.
The US has a number of island communities in the form of territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam.
The version of the bill introduced in the House proposes to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OSCLA) to enable island territories to build offshore windfarms to meet their need for energy.
Legislation was reintroduced in the House earlier in February 2019 by Representative González Colón. It was first introduced by Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, who represented Guam. In August 2018 Mrs Bordallo lost her bid for renomination for another term as delegate in the Democratic primary.
Representative González Colón issued a statement in which she said there was “consensus on the need to modernise Puerto Rico’s power infrastructure” with renewables. Today, only 2% of the island’s energy comes from renewable sources. She wants to see the Department of Interior conduct feasibility studies for offshore wind lease sales for all of the territories and, where it is viable, conduct a lease sale.