As part of President Obama’s all out, all of the above approach to developing every domestic energy resource, Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced the start of an ambitious initiative to capture the potential of wind energy off American coasts. As part of a planned six-year $180 million initiative, an initial $20 million will be available this year as the first step in supporting up to four innovative offshore wind energy installations across the United States. These offshore wind projects will accelerate the deployment of breakthrough wind power technologies that will help diversify our nation’s energy portfolio, promote economic development, and launch a new industry here in America.
“Developing all of our nation’s vast energy resources is an important part of President Obama’s blueprint for an American economy that uses all of America’s energy resources,” says Secretary Chu. “The new offshore wind energy initiative will help to catalyze the development of offshore wind in America, supporting U.S. 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.”
Offshore wind is an enormous potential resource for the United States, with strong, consistent winds located in the Atlantic, Pacific, the Great Lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico. America’s vast offshore wind resources, estimated at more than 4,000 gigawatts, will 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.
To support these new demonstration projects, the Energy Department will make available up to $180 million over six years, subject to congressional appropriations, including an initial commitment of $20 million in fiscal year 2012. The department will focus this latest research and demonstration initiative on highly innovative technologies that will achieve large cost reductions over existing offshore wind technologies. The demonstrations will 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 to work with partners across the federal government to implement a comprehensive offshore wind energy strategy, conduct resource assessments, and streamline siting and permitting. By investing in this emerging industry, this support will help lower the cost and speed the deployment of American-made offshore wind energy technologies designed for U.S. coastal conditions and provide valuable opportunities to test these innovations in real offshore environments.
Applicants to the competitive solicitation are expected to form world-class consortia of energy project developers, equipment suppliers, research institutions, and marine installation specialists. Energy Department funds may be used to cover up to 80 percent of a project’s design costs and 50 percent of the hardware and installation costs.
For more information and application requirements for this funding opportunity, please visit eere-exchange.energy.gov.