US pledges US$43m to spur offshore wind

By Kari Williamson

The 41 projects across 20 states will advance wind turbine design tools and hardware, improve information about US offshore wind resources, and accelerate the deployment of offshore wind by reducing market barriers such as supply chain development, transmission and infrastructure, DoE says.

“The US has an abundant offshore wind resource that remains untapped,” says Energy Secretary Steven 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 projects focus on technical approaches to advancing offshore wind technology and approaches to removing market barriers to responsible offshore wind energy deployment. Funding is subject to Congressional appropriations.

Technical challenges

Nineteen of the projects will receive US$26.5m 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 modelling and analysis tools required to lower overall offshore wind facility costs and to design the next generation of large-scale offshore wind turbines.

The projects include research and development of key components such as floating support structures and offshore wind turbine rotor and control subsystems that may lead to capital cost reductions of up to 50%.

Removing market barriers

Another 22 projects will receive US$16.5m to look at market barriers focusing on factors limiting the deployment of offshore wind in the US' coastal and Great Lakes regions.

Topic areas include project design factors such as environmental impact assessment and characterisation of the offshore wind resource; subjects related to investment and infrastructure development such as categorisation 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.