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    American Clean Power Association CEOs and Senior Leaders Sound Alarm on Legislation That Could Halt U.S. Offshore Wind Growth and American Job Creation


    June 24, 2022 - Targeted News Service

     

      WASHINGTON, June 24 (TNSpol) -- The American Clean Power Association issued the following news release and letter on June 23, 2022:

      The American Clean Power Association (ACP) today released a letter to Senate leadership from ACP CEO Heather Zichal and 24 of the leading CEOs and senior leaders in the offshore wind sector raising concerns with language in the House-passed Don Young Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022. If enacted, the bill would change longstanding rules for manning vessels in U.S. waters and potentially stall offshore wind development, preventing the U.S. from achieving the target of deploying 30,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030.

      The ACP letter notes that if this provision is enacted, the U.S. will not see offshore wind energy deployed at scale for many years and some projects may even be cancelled. This would threaten tens of thousands of potential new American jobs in the manufacturing and maritime sectors, impact U.S. energy security objectives, and severely curtail the emissions reduction targets that are dependent upon the industry's continued development.

      The letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chair Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). The letter states:

      "As written, the House maritime crewing provision is an existential threat to the future of offshore wind in the United States and the immediate result would be the delay and potential cancelation of the 19 offshore wind projects with power offtake contracts or awards. The provision would require, within 120 days of passage, that crews on specialized offshore international construction vessels match the flag of the vessel or be American mariners as a condition of working on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf...The crewing provision would thus serve to block the use of these international specialized offshore vessels when there are currently no U.S.-flagged specialized construction vessels to do the work needed."

      "A majority of the vessels used by the offshore wind industry will be made in America and crewed by U.S. mariners...In addition to the number of vessels, U.S.-flagged vessels such as crew transfer vessels and service operation vessels will have the greatest amount of vessel hours because they will perform all transportation activities between U.S. ports and offshore wind turbines during the approximately 35-year lifetime of the project," the CEOs and company leaders note in the letter.

      "Offshore wind represents a tremendous opportunity for the American economy and we have already committed to at least $4 billion in U.S.-flagged vessels, workforce training, and supply chain development. The first step Congress should take to promote continued American offshore wind growth is to focus policy solutions on the root cause of the problem: a lack of U.S. mariners, a shortage of U.S.-flagged ships, and uncertain timing of approvals on offshore wind Construction and Operations Plans," and the letter urges Congress replace the provision with policy incentives to build more U.S.-flagged vessels.

      The leaders concluded in the letter, "Ultimately, the offshore wind industry and Congress have the same goal: maximizing the number of Americans employed in offshore wind, including mariners. Building out the domestic offshore wind industry will pay enormous economic development benefits and aggressive deployment of offshore wind will make a material contribution to our domestic energy security. We need reasonable policies and predictable permitting timelines, not impossible mandates."

      ACP's offshore wind maritime crewing fact sheet can be downloaded here (https://cleanpower.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/ACP_OSW_CEO_Ltr_Maritime-Crewing.pdf).

      * * *

      June 22, 2022

      To: The Honorable Charles Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, S-221, The Capitol, Washington, DC 20510

      The Honorable Maria Cantwell, Chairwoman, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 254 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

      The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, S-230, The Capitol, Washington, DC 20510

      The Honorable Roger Wicker, Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 254 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

      Dear Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Chairwoman Cantwell, and Ranking Member Wicker, As the Senate Commerce Committee begins consideration of the 2022 Coast Guard Authorization Act, we urge you to exclude a provision that would derail the nascent U.S. offshore wind industry namely, the maritime crewing language in the House-passed Don Young Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022 (H.R. 6865) and seek other solutions to reach our shared goal of maximizing the number of domestic mariners.

      As written, the House maritime crewing provision is an existential threat to the future of offshore wind in the United States and the immediate result would be the delay and potential cancelation of the 19 offshore wind projects with power off take contracts or awards. The provision would require, within 120 days of passage, that crews on specialized offshore international construction vessels match the flag of the vessel or be American mariners as a condition of working on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. Given the nascent domestic offshore wind industry, there are currently insufficient numbers of trained American mariners, as well provision would thus serve to block the use of these international specialized offshore vessels when there are currently no U.S.- flagged specialized construction vessels to do the work needed. The industry needs your support to build out domestic capacity and a formal forum to partner with vessel owners, maritime trades, and shipbuilders to advance a solution.

      A focus on specialized construction vessels, which make up a small subset of the vessels used in the deployment of offshore wind, also draws attention away from the fact that a majority of the vessels used by the offshore wind industry will be made in America and crewed by U.S. mariners. Of the 25+ vessels used to construct, operate, and maintain an offshore wind project, including seafloor survey work, component transfer, turbine installation, and operations and maintenance, the majority will be U.S.-flagged and -crewed. In addition to the number of vessels, U.S.-flagged vessels such as crew transfer vessels and service operation vessels will have the greatest amount of vessel hours because they will perform all transportation activities between U.S. ports and offshore wind turbines during the approximately 35-year lifetime of the project. These activities over the multiple years of project operations will dwarf the months of construction engaged in by international ships on offshore wind energy projects, meaning American mariners will perform the vast majority of the job hours needed. Offshore wind represents a tremendous opportunity for the American economy and we have already committed to at least $4 billion in U.S.-flagged vessels, workforce training, and supply chain development. The first step Congress should take to promote continued American offshore wind growth is to focus policy solutions on the root cause of the problem: a lack of U.S. mariners, a shortage of U.S.-flagged ships, and uncertain timing of approvals on offshore wind Construction and Operations Plans. Vessel incentives, such as increasing funding for and reforming the MARAD Title XI program, increasing direct loans to U.S. vessel operators, of last resort to derisk investments in some of the largest U.S.-built offshore vessels could help spur needed investments.

      Ultimately, the offshore wind industry and Congress have the same goal: maximizing the number of Americans employed in offshore wind, including mariners. Building out the domestic offshore wind industry will pay enormous economic development benefits and aggressive deployment of offshore wind will make a material contribution to our domestic energy security. We need reasonable policies and predictable permitting timelines, not impossible mandates that will drive a stake through the heart of the industry before we can get it off the ground. For these reasons, we urge you not to include the House-passed maritime crewing provision in the Senate Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022. Thank you for your attention to these matters. Please do not hesitate to contact Claire Richer at the American Clean Power Association at cricher@cleanpower.org for further information or with questions.

      Sincerely,

      * * *

      View co-signers here: https://cleanpower.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/ACP_OSW_CEO_Ltr_Maritime-Crewing.pdf

      * * *

      Original text here: https://cleanpower.org/news/clean-power-ceos-and-senior-leaders-sound-alarm-on-legislation-that-could-halt-u-s-offshore-wind-growth-and-american-job-creation/

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