U.S. Department of Energy Awards $43 Million to Kick Start Offshore Wind Energy
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $43 million over the next five years to speed technical innovations, lower costs, and shorten the timeline for deploying offshore wind energy systems. The 41 projects across 20 states will advance wind turbine design tools and hardware, improve information about U.S. offshore wind resources, and accelerate the deployment of offshore wind by reducing market barriers such as supply chain development, transmission and infrastructure. The awards announced today will help the U.S. to compete in the global wind energy manufacturing sector, promote economic development and job creation, and support the development of an emerging industry that will provide clean electricity to American families.
Offshore wind energy can provide access to a vast clean, domestic, renewable resource that can help the United States meet its critical energy, environmental and economic challenges and provide energy to coastal cities where much of the nation’s population and electricity demand lies.
“The U.S. has an abundant offshore wind resource that remains untapped,” said Secretary Chu. “Through these awards, the Department of Energy is developing the critical technology and knowledge base necessary to responsibly develop this resource, enhance our energy security, and create new clean energy jobs.”
The selections announced today focus on technical approaches to advancing offshore technology and approaches to removing market barriers to responsible offshore wind energy deployment. Funding is subject to Congressional appropriations.
Nineteen offshore wind technology development projects will receive $26.5 million to address technical challenges and provide the foundation for a cost-competitive offshore wind industry in the United States. Awardees, in collaboration with industry, will develop the engineering modeling and analysis tools required to lower overall offshore facility costs and to design the next generation of innovative large-scale turbines optimized for installation and operation in the marine environment. These projects include research and development for innovations in key components such as floating support structures and turbine rotor and control subsystems that may lead to capital cost reductions of up to 50 percent.
Twenty-two market barrier removal projects will receive $16.5 million to research factors limiting the deployment of offshore wind in the nation’s coastal and Great Lakes regions. Topic areas include project design factors such as environmental impact assessment and characterization of the offshore wind resource; subjects related to investment and infrastructure development such as categorization of financial risks and long term manufacturing needs and port requirements; and technical offshore wind interface topics such as transmission grid integration, and assessment of potential impact on offshore navigation and communication systems.