February 28, 2013

New Analysis Makes the Economic Case for Offshore Wind

By Marissa Newhall

To coincide with Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introducing the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act in Congress today, Clean Energy States Alliance’s Offshore Wind Accelerator Project (OWAP) – along with the Center for American Progress (CAP), the Sierra Club, and the U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative – released a jointly commissioned report that demonstrates how offshore wind can become cost competitive with electricity generated from natural gas by 2024, even without federal subsidies.

The analysis, titled A Learning Investment-based Analysis of the Economic Potential for Offshore Wind and conducted by the Brattle Group, also finds that building an American offshore wind industry would have minimal effect on ratepayers, a large majority of whom are willing to pay a slight rate increase for homegrown clean energy that creates jobs, protects public health, and leads to greater energy independence.

The first of its kind in analyzing the broader economic impact of developing an entire offshore wind industry, the Brattle Group report finds that the national average monthly rate increase for consumers would be between $0.25 to $2.08. Polls in New York, Maryland, and other states have shown that solid majorities of voters are willing to pay a couple dollars more every month to support local offshore wind projects.

To provide a conservative estimate of the economic effects, the Brattle Group analysis does not include any subsidies such as the production tax credit or investment tax credit, both of which apply to offshore wind energy.

Offshore wind can provide the East Coast with a virtually limitless source of clean energy right in its own backyard, with zero fuel costs and without the need to build expensive land-based transmission lines through the region’s urban and rural landscapes. And the good news, as this analysis shows, is that offshore wind power — with scale-up — can become price competitive with carbon-based electricity resources very soon and without hardship to ratepayers’ wallets.

We’re excited about this report, and how it will help us advance our mission of getting steel in the water as soon as possible. Visit the Center for American Progress website to read the report and the accompanying briefing paper, Making the Economic Case for Offshore Wind, authored by CAP Director of Ocean Policy Michael Conathan.

CESA and OWAP hosted a webinar on this topic on 3/11/15. Watch it here: Learning Investment in Offshore Wind: An Economic Analysis.

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