Department of Energy Awards $43 Million to Spur Offshore Wind Energy

September 8, 2011

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today 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 three technical approaches to advancing offshore technology and seven approaches to removing market barriers to responsible offshore wind energy deployment. Funding is subject to Congressional appropriations.

Technology Advancement

  • Modeling & Analysis Design Tools to Assess Offshore Wind Turbine Technologies: Eight projects will receive $6.7 million to advance the current state-of-the-art modeling and analysis tools for the design, performance assessment, system modeling and cost assessment of offshore wind systems.
  • Innovative Offshore Wind Plant System Design Studies: Seven projects will receive $3.4 million to develop conceptual designs and assessments of offshore wind plant systems that enhance energy capture, improve performance and reliability, and reduce the cost of energy from integrated wind plant systems.
  • Innovative Offshore Wind Turbine Component Development: Four projects will receive $16.4 million to research and develop innovative rotor and control systems designs for advanced components and integrated systems to reduce capital costs of these systems by up to 50%.

Market Barrier Removal

  • Offshore Wind Market and Economic Analysis: One project receiving $510,000 will reduce financing costs and increase investor confidence by supporting offshore wind market analysis to inform stakeholder decision-making regarding individual projects, industry issues, and energy policy.
  • Environmental Risk Reduction: Three projects receiving $5.7 million will work to expedite the permitting process by performing ecological studies and predictive modeling and validating innovative technologies for avian and bat studies.
  • Manufacturing and Supply Chain Development: One project will receive $350,000 to assess the current domestic supply chain infrastructure and recommend strategies for national manufacturing infrastructure development to support offshore wind deployment.
  • Transmission Planning and Interconnection Studies: Four projects will receive $2.5 million to study and plan for the integration of offshore wind energy into the electrical transmission and grid interconnection, thereby increasing technical viability of commercial-scale offshore wind integration.
  • Optimized Infrastructure and Operations: Four projects will receive $1.2 million to support the assessment of ports, vessels, and operations that will be involved with offshore wind energy efforts.
  • Resource Characterization and Design Conditions: Eight projects will receive $5.8 million to develop an accessible network of information on subjects including U.S. offshore wind resources, design requirements for offshore wind turbines, and environmental conditions affecting offshore wind energy systems.
  • Impact on Electronic Equipment in the Marine Environment: One project will receive $500,000 to evaluate the potential effects of offshore wind energy facilities on electronic navigation, detection, or communication equipment such as airborne radar, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), shipboard radios, and SONAR (Sound Navigation & Ranging).

Read the full list of award winners.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. Learn more about DOE's efforts to research, test, develop, and deploy innovative wind energy technologies.