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Greater Federal, State Roles Sought to Help Develop Offshore Wind Potential

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Carper has led the charge in Congress to give prospective developers of wind energy greater tax certainty.

But the effort must go beyond states for the industry to take hold in the United States, said John Cohen, vice president of government affairs at Alstom, an energy generation and infrastructure conglomerate. Stakeholders in the public and private sectors must coordinate to create a large regional market that would fully realize the potential of offshore wind as a power source, he said.

“One of the challenges here is the market to really draw in the full potential of economic development is bigger than any one state,” Cohen said.

The recession, low natural gas prices and reduced power demand have all contributed to the industry’s slow crawl to commercial viability, said Frank Maisano, an energy specialist at Bracewell & Giuliani. But given the support for offshore wind among government officials and the public, he says the nascent industry can overcome the obstacles.

“Projects will have to be done in incremental steps,” Maisano said. “It was unrealistic to have a grand plan of hurrying it up.”

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