The United States is looking to advance its interest in offshore wind beyond the northeastern states and California to include the U.S. Territories. On February 6th, HR Bill 1014, titled: ‘Offshore Wind for Territories Act’, was introduced with Miss González-Colón of Puerto Rico with Mr. Sablan, Mrs. Radewagen, Mr. Soto, and Ms. Plaskett as the sponsors. The Bill calls for the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to auction areas for offshore wind in the economic zones around the US Territories. Interestingly, the proceeds from the lease sales would have the following distribution:
- “50 percent shall be deposited in the Treasury and credited to miscellaneous receipts;
- 12.5 percent shall be deposited in the Coral Reef Conservation Fund established under section 211 of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000; and
- 37.5 percent shall be disbursed to territories of the United States in an amount for each territory (based on a formula established by the Secretary by regulation) that is inversely proportional to the respective distance between the point on the coastline of the territory that is closest to the geographic center of the applicable leased tract and the geographic center of the leased tract.”
Eight days later, on February 14th, Sen. Cassidy, Bill [R-LA] co-sponsored by Sen. Schatz, Brian [D-HI] introduced the parallel Senate Bill 499 which was read twice and referred to the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Should these Bills pass their respective chambers and become Law, the distribution of the lease proceeds for the direct benefit of the Territories provides a precedent to support the Network’s argument for a percentage of future auction proceeds to be assigned for the direct benefit of the businesses committed to creating a strong and efficient national supply chain. De-risking the development and growth of the US offshore wind supply chain will further help drive down costs and accelerate this new industry.