Dept of Energy hails initiative to encourage US offshore windfarm development.
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. Secretary Chu said: "The new offshore wind energy initiative announced today 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."
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.
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% of a project's design costs and 50% of the hardware and installation costs. Letters of intent are due on March 30 and applications are due on May 31, 2012.