Transcript: Business Network Offshore Wind Offshore Wind Port and Vessel Summit
REMARKS AS DELIVERED BY
MARITIME ADMINISTRATOR REAR ADM. (RET) ANN PHILLIPS
AT BUSINESS NETWORK OFFSHORE WIND
PORT AND VESSEL SUMMIT
Thank you for that warm introduction. On behalf of the Department of Transportation and the Maritime Administration, I am pleased to have the opportunity to join Congressman Scott and everyone here today for this critical discussion.
It is the honor of a lifetime to serve as the 20th Maritime Administrator. MARAD’s mission and responsibility are to foster, promote, and develop the maritime industry to meet our nation’s economic and security needs, both today and in the future.
This is an extraordinary time at MARAD and throughout the Department of Transportation, as we work to provide to the American people the once-in-a-generation investments in our infrastructure that the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure law is making possible.
Over the next five years, the Department of Transportation will award billions—billions with a “B”—of dollars in funding to modernize our ports and waterways.
And of course, a key component of the infrastructure we are working to build under the President’s leadership is infrastructure that will enable us to address the climate crisis we face by significantly expanding our renewable energy capabilities, including offshore wind.
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to reaching 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by the year 2030.
That’s enough power to meet the demand of more than 10 million American homes for a year. It would also help us avoid 78 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.
Achieving this ambitious goal will trigger more than $12 billion per year in capital investment in projects, create tens of thousands of good-paying, union jobs, and employ more than 44,000 workers in offshore wind by 2030 while creating tens of thousands of additional jobs in communities supported by growth in the offshore wind industry.
The work of the Biden-Harris Administration to support offshore wind is a whole-of-government effort involving many departments and agencies.
Today, I want to talk specifically about the role that the Maritime Administration is playing in this effort, including our work supporting the construction of vessels to service the offshore wind industry and our work creating new infrastructure at our ports to support all facets of the industry.
Let me talk first about our support for vessel construction.
As you know, having the right vessels is key to building and servicing offshore wind farm facilities. Many types of vessels are required—and to move cargo between two points in the United States, these vessels must be compliant with the Jones Act.
The Jones Act is a cornerstone of U.S. maritime policy—and as the President’s Executive Order on Made in America affirms, it is a “make it in America” policy on our waterways that ensures that we have a strong merchant marine, a strong shipbuilding base, and a vibrant maritime sector.
MARAD helps operators build the vessels we will need to carry cargoes and workers to offshore wind farm facilities through our Federal Ship Financing Program.
For those who may not be familiar with it, the Federal Ship Financing Program—commonly called “Title XI” because of its location in the Merchant Marine Act of 1936—provides full faith and credit guarantees to promote the growth and modernization of the U.S. merchant marine and U.S. shipyards.
It has the ability to provide guaranteed loans for longer terms, higher loan-to-value amounts, and lower interest rates than are typically available through private lenders—and this program is available to help finance new construction or refinance vessels that are already constructed.
Since 1993, Title XI has provided $9.3 billion in loan guarantees. Earlier this month, we announced our most recent Title XI loan guarantee, which supports three new towboats and 17 barges operated by Canal Barge Company.
The Title XI statute was amended in 2019 to make several important changes to the program.
One change designated the Federal Financing Bank as the “preferred lender” for the program. This reduces the cost of the loan guarantees and gives MARAD flexibility with its guaranteed loans that it did not have before.
A second change gave MARAD the authority to designate “Vessels of National Interest.” This designation enables us to prioritize and expedite specific applications.
I recently designated the vessels that service offshore wind farm facilities as Vessels of National Interest—and these are the first vessels to be designated under this authority.
This designation reflects the Administration’s commitment to supporting construction of vessels to service offshore wind terminals.
Several American shipyards have already secured contracts to build vessels to service offshore wind development—and we have had a surge in expressions of interest in the Title XI program since we announced the national interest designation for offshore wind vessels.
If you—or someone you know—is interested in learning more about how to access a Title XI loan, please please be in touch with the Maritime Administration, including through our Office of Marine Financing.
As the phrase goes, our operators are standing by and are eager to assist you—and in fact, David Gilmore, who leads that office, is actually here at the conference today and is available to answer any questions!
PORT INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Remember when I mentioned the billions we will invest in port infrastructure under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law?
The Biden-Harris Administration has been committed from Day One to modernizing our infrastructure.
The President’s commitment has resulted in an unprecedented investment in all segments of our infrastructure, including a historic investment in our ports and intermodal infrastructure to enable us to move goods more quickly, bring down shipping costs, strengthen supply chain resiliency, and reduce the climate impacts of port operations themselves.
Over the next five years, the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) administered by MARAD will invest $2.25 billion to strengthen ports all across the nation, including ports that will serve the offshore wind industry.
To put this figure in perspective, the funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for PIDP alone is roughly the same amount of money that had been invested in ports by all DOT grant programs prior to the enactment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law since the DOT began investing in ports with the 2009 Recovery Act.
In 2021, before the enactment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, there were 108 eligible applications for PIDP funding and several referenced some sort of wind energy component.
And last year’s awards—which were made before I arrived at MARAD!—included grants for projects that will support offshore wind development.
For example, the Portsmouth Marine Terminal Offshore Wind Development project award will fund improvements to the Portsmouth Marine Terminal that will enable it to serve as a staging area to support offshore wind projects.
On February 23, 2022, Secretary Buttigieg announced the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the first round of PIDP grants funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
This NOFO was released just three months after the law was enacted—ensuring that we could begin to get money out the door and to work in our ports as quickly as possible.
The first round of PIDP funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law totals $450 million—an investment that is almost double the amount provided last year and is the largest single investment in the program ever.
And an additional $234 million dollars was provided for the PIDP program in Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations, bringing the total amount of funding available this year to more than $680 million.
Applications for this year’s PIDP funding were due in May. We again have many applications seeking funding for components of port projects that would support offshore wind development.
We will be able to provide more information after the announcement of awards in October.
As with the Title XI program, if you would like to learn more about the Port Infrastructure Development Program, please be in touch with MARAD in Washington, DC, or through any of the Gateway Offices we have across the nation. Did I mention, operators are standing by to assist?!
Ladies and gentlemen, President Biden is leading a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure—an investment that will help us not only improve mobility and strengthen our economy, but also help us move to a clean energy future.
The development of offshore wind facilities is an essential component of this effort and of the President’s vision.
We at the Maritime Administration and throughout the Department of Transportation are bringing every tool we have to bear to support this effort—and working closely with our partners through the government and this vital industry to make sure we have the vessels and the port capacity to build this vibrant new industry.
Thank you for the opportunity to join you today and thank you for the critical discussions you are leading regarding central questions about how our rapidly evolving offshore wind industry will work and the practical questions that must be answered to help this industry progress.
Again, please do not hesitate to be in touch with MARAD whenever we can be of assistance!