Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Paul Tonko stood at the Port of Albany to announce their plan to bring clean energy and renewable offshore wind jobs to Albany and position New York to be a key player in helping the U.S. meet its national goal of deploying 30GW of offshore wind energy by 2030. Their bicameral legislation, the Restoring Offshore Wind Opportunities Act, would reverse the harmful and arbitrary Trump-era ban on offshore wind leasing, which will halt progress and innovation in energy in the United States. Locally, the success of this bill would help support the Port of Albany’s Offshore Wind Tower Manufacturing Port Project to create hundreds of construction and manufacturing jobs. As the rate of inflation continues to rise, this bill is crucial to securing America’s energy independence and global competitiveness, and supports a burgeoning industry that will generate clean and reliable electricity to power 10 million homes, create 77,000 jobs, and cut 78 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
“Clean energy and renewable jobs are the key to a successful future and a strong economy, and the United States is well-positioned to be at the forefront of this frontier,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Today, I’m announcing my Restoring Offshore Wind Opportunities Act, legislation that would open the gates to innovation in clean energy and help create hundreds of offshore wind jobs right here in Albany. I am always proud to represent my hometown and visit sites like the Port of Albany that set the standard for what is possible for the future of clean energy in New York and the entire nation, and I am grateful to Congressman Tonko for being a partner in this fight. I am confident this bill will pass in the Bipartisan Innovation Act and New York will lead the way in meeting our national goal of deploying 30GW of offshore wind energy by 2030.”
“Investments in offshore wind energy not only create good jobs and drive economic growth, they are fundamental in our fight to address the climate crisis,” Congressman Tonko said. “But currently, an arbitrary Trump-era ban on new offshore wind leasing will prevent those key benefits from reaching our communities. Our Restoring Offshore Wind Opportunities Act would overturn this arbitrary ban and jumpstart clean energy deployment while helping us reach President Biden’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. Our legislation was included in the House-passed America COMPETES Act, and—as one of the conferees facilitating negotiations between the House and Senate—I’m working hard to advance it in a final package that strengthens America’s global competitiveness. I’m grateful for Senator Gillibrand’s strong partnership in this effort to advance our bill that will propel our nation’s transition to a cleaner, more competitive economy of the future.”
“We applaud Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Tonko for their unyielding encouragement of the Offshore Wind Industry and the opportunities it creates for this Country, environmentally, economically and beyond. We are pleased that the Port of Albany will be the setting to push for the Restoring Offshore Wind Opportunities Act also known as Bill S.3808. The Port team and our project partners are working to bring the first Offshore Wind Tower Manufacturing facility to the United States. We know first-hand that bringing a new industry to the United States is a complex task and can use this level of support. We want to thank Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Tonko for this effort” said Richard Hendrick, Port of Albany CEO.
“New York State and the Capital Region have seized the opportunity to become the undeniable leader in offshore wind development. The Restoring Offshore Wind Opportunities Act, introduced the Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Tonko, will further the growth of this industry along the east coast, which will have positive impacts on supply chain opportunities locally,” said Mark Eagan, President and CEO of the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce and Center for Economic Growth
Offshore wind provides an opportunity to launch a whole new green economy industry in New York and across the country, and is critical to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. By restoring offshore wind opportunities Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Tonko are fixing a loophole that would block clean energy progress for a decade. The New York League of Conservation Voters supports this proposal and similar legislation to enable development of renewable energy,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters.
“Big action requires collaborative work at many levels, because everything is connected. Here in Bethlehem, we have a remarkable offshore wind tower manufacturing facility under construction. But we need appropriate places for these wind towers and their turbines to be sited, and I am so grateful to Senator Gillibrand and Congress member Tonko for stepping forward with critical legislation that will reopen ocean spaces to wind farms, thereby supporting local economies and advancing our nation’s clean energy future,” said David VanLuven, Bethlehem Town Supervisor.
In September 2020, President Trump withdrew areas off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida from new offshore oil and gas leasing in a pair of memoranda for the Secretary of the Interior. Due to the broad and imprecise language of these memoranda, the 10-year moratorium also applies to offshore wind, imperiling a critical new wave of offshore wind energy development. This threatens tens of thousands of high-quality jobs in a globally competitive industry and billions of dollars of investments planned or already in progress for offshore wind projects.
The Restoring Offshore Wind Opportunities Act was successfully passed by the House in the America COMPETES Act. Now, the members are calling for the Senate version to be included in the Bipartisan Innovation Act – the final conference version of the Senate-passed U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and the House-passed America COMPETES Act.
In December of 2021, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand secured nearly $30 million in federal funding for the Port of Albany’s Offshore Wind Tower Manufacturing Port Project. This project will be critical in establishing an offshore wind supply chain in the United States and moving toward renewable energy. In January of this year, Gillibrand also joined U.S. Secretary of Energy Granholm, Congressman Tonko, and Governor Hochul in Albany to highlight how the historic climate investments of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help lower energy costs, generate good-paying, union jobs and drive down air pollution across the Empire State.