DOE Awards $43 Million to Spur Offshore Wind Energy

September 14, 2011

DOE announced on September 8 that it will award $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 funded projects across 20 states will advance wind turbine design tools and hardware, improve information about U.S. offshore wind resources, and reduce market barriers related to supply chain development, transmission, and infrastructure. The awards will help the United States compete in the global wind energy manufacturing sector while promoting economic development and job creation. Funding is subject to congressional appropriations.

Some projects will focus on three technical approaches to advancing offshore technology. Certain projects will 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. Offshore wind system design studies will 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. And other projects will support the research and development of innovative rotor and control systems designs for advanced components and integrated systems to reduce capital costs of these systems by up to 50%.

Additional projects will focus on seven approaches to removing market barriers to offshore wind energy deployment. An offshore wind market and economic analysis will seek to 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. Also, three projects will work to expedite the permitting process by performing ecological studies and predictive modeling and validating innovative technologies for avian and bat studies. Another project will assess the current domestic supply chain infrastructure and recommend strategies for national manufacturing infrastructure development to support offshore wind deployment. Four projects will study the integration of offshore wind energy into the grid. Four projects will assess ports, vessels, and operations that will be involved with offshore wind energy efforts. And, eight projects will 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. Finally, one project will 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. See the EERE press release, the list of winners, and the DOE Wind Power website.