By Kari Williamson
An initial US$20m will be available this year as the first step in supporting up to four offshore wind energy installations across the US.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, says: “The new offshore wind energy initiative ... will help to catalyse the development of offshore wind in America, supporting US innovators as they seek to design and demonstrate next generation wind energy technologies. These investments are critical to ensuring that America remains competitive in this growing global industry that can drive new manufacturing, construction, installation and operation jobs across the country.”
The US has strong, consistent winds located in the Atlantic, Pacific, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico, with a total potential of over 4 TW.
DoE will focus investment on technologies that will bring large cost reductions over existing offshore wind technologies. The demonstrations could also help address key challenges associated with installing utility-scale offshore wind turbines, connecting offshore turbines to the power grid, and navigating new permitting and approval processes.
In addition to the new funding, the Department is continuing its work with partners across the Federal Government to implement a comprehensive offshore wind energy strategy, conduct resource assessments, and streamline siting and permitting.
The funding is open to consortia of energy project developers, equipment suppliers, research institutions and marine installation specialists.
DoE's funds may be used to cover up to 80% of a project’s design costs and 50% of the hardware and installation costs.