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

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

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources voted to advance legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tina Smith (D-MN) to reauthorize and expand the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Wind Energy and support competitive grants to improve the efficiency, reliability, and capacity of wind energy generation.  The Wind Energy Research and Development Act now heads to the floor for consideration by the full Senate.


“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.”


“Today’s committee action shows that both sides of the aisle recognize the importance of investing in wind energy,” said Senator Smith. “As a national leader in wind energy, Minnesota knows that it offers large economic and environmental benefits. We’re home to the two largest wind construction companies in the country, and nearly 20 percent of our state’s electricity last year was generated from wind turbines. Senator Collins’ and my bipartisan bill makes sense because 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.” 


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, and 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 for a summary of the bill.