U.S. offshore wind receives boost

The U.S. Department of Energy recently unveiled a six-year, $180 million initiative for the development of offshore wind energy. An initial $20 million will be available in 2012 as the first step in supporting up to four innovative offshore wind energy installations across the U.S. According to DOE, offshore wind is an enormous potential resource for the U.S., with an estimated 4,000 GW or more in potential power generation.

These offshore wind projects will accelerate the deployment of wind power technologies that will help diversify the nation’s energy portfolio, promote economic development and launch a new industry in America, the DOE said.

Focus on latest research

To support these new demonstration projects, the Energy Department will make available up to $180 million over six years, subject to congressional appropriations. The DOE 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 DOE 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.