Bipartisan Bill to Expand Wind Energy Research and Development Introduced by Senators Collins, Smith

Legislation Would Sustain and Enhance Department of Energy’s Office of Wind Energy, Support American Jobs

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced the Wind Energy Research and Development Act, bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and expand the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Wind Energy and award competitive grants to improve the energy efficiency, reliability, and capacity of wind energy generation.

 

“Within 50 miles of the U.S. coast, there is enough offshore wind capacity to power our country four times over. Offshore wind projects, such as Aqua Ventus at the University of Maine, have the potential to support more than 2,000 good-paying jobs in our state,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan bill would encourage and accelerate the excellent wind energy research being done on new technologies that will enable businesses to continue to develop this clean source of power, including off the coast of Maine.”

“Minnesota has long been a national leader in wind energy. The state is home to the two largest wind farm construction companies in the country—Mortenson Energy in the Twin Cities and Blattner Energy in rural Avon. Nearly 20 percent of electricity in Minnesota last year was generated from wind turbines—enough to power over a million homes. With all of this in mind, I’m pleased to introduce my bipartisan bill that would ratchet up wind energy development across the nation,” said Senator Smith. “My bipartisan bill makes sense because we know wind energy is a rural economic engine, it’s good for the environment, and it’s the cheapest way to add new electricity to the electrical grid.”

 

“We applaud Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) for her continued support of advanced clean energy technologies, including her introduction of the Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2019 with Senator Tina Smith (D-MN),” said Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) Executive Director Heather Reams.  “This legislation would renew and expand the Department of Energy’s Office of Wind Energy and award competitive grants to improve the energy efficiency, reliability and capacity of wind energy generation. Earlier this year, Senator Collins led the introduction of the bipartisan Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act supporting energy storage RD&D grid-scale research and breakthrough technologies. As a CRES Clean Energy Champion, Senator Collins understands the importance of supporting cleaner, reliable, and more affordable sources of power and we thank her for her leadership on these issues.”

 

The wind energy sector supports more than 114,000 American jobs and provides more than $1 billion in revenue each year for states and local communities. Federal support for wind research and development has already delivered significant results, and the Wind Energy Research and Development Act is a big part of a larger effort to accelerate innovative technologies, educate local communities, create more jobs, and enhance the economy in rural areas.

 

The Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2019 authorizes and expands DOE’s Office of Wind Energy for five years and directs the Secretary of Energy to award competitive grants to:

 

·         Improve the energy efficiency, reliability & capacity of wind energy generation;

 

·         Improve land-based and offshore blade, generator, tower, and support designs and transformational technologies for harnessing wind energy, including airborne wind energy generators;

 

·         Increase recycling and reuse of wind-energy components;

 

·         Reduce cost of permitting, construction, operation & maintenance of wind energy systems;

 

·         Conduct a wind energy technology validation and market transformation program;

 

·         Reduce barriers to widespread adoption of wind power; and

 

·         Develop new wildlife impact mitigation technologies.

 

The Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2019 is supported by the American Wind Energy Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Distributed Wind Energy Association, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Bipartisan Policy Center Action, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute.

 

Click HERE to read a summary of the bill and HERE for the full text.