Feb 14 (Renewables Now) - Expanding renewable energy production is one of the best ways to meet the US' growing energy demand, the Governors' Wind & Solar Energy Coalition said in a letter on Monday to President Donald Trump, seeking support from his administration and Congress for a number of "key initiatives" for the sector.
The 20-member bipartisan group called for a long-term extension of a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) for offshore wind, saying that the ITC is a better incentive for the technology than the production tax credit (PTC) as offshore wind investors need a faster return on their long-term investments. It noted that Congress already has two bills that addressing this issue.
Studies by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) say that no offshore wind project would qualify for the current tax credits prior to the 2019 expiration date.
Currently, there is strong investor interest in offshore wind development in the US but that will disappear without a strong national policy foundation, the coalition warned. It says comprehensive offshore development legislation has to be adopted as soon as possible.
The governors also said that any national infrastructure legislation should include significant funding for grid modernisation and asked Trump to create a new state-federal task force to look at options for improving the regulatory framework in order to stimulate private sector and utility investments in the electric system.
The coalition further called for increased funding for wind and solar research and development (R&D) and streamlining the permitting of wind and solar projects.
"Your support of these initiatives will allow our nation to capitalize on renewable resources, meet the needs of Americans and bolster the economy," says the letter, which is signed by the governors of Rhode Island and Kansas, Gina Raimondo and Sam Brownback, who are chair and vice chair of the coalition.
Before moving to outline the initiatives, the letter stressed the benefits of the wind and solar industries for job creation, the economy at state and national levels, and low-income rural areas.
The letter can be read here.