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USD 180m government plan to expand US offshore wind

Six year US initiative aims to speed up deployment of offshore wind projects

The USD 180m six year initiative aims to expand offshore wind in the US
The USD 180m six year initiative aims to expand offshore wind in the US

The Department of Energy has announced a USD 180m initiative to expand offshore wind power in the US. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, of the US government department, has announced the start of an ambitious initiative to capture the potential of wind energy off American coasts. 

As part of the planned six-year USD 180m initiative, an initial USD 20m 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.

Secretary Chu said: “The new offshore wind energy initiative will help to catalyse 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 US, 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 4,000GW 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 USD 180m over six years, subject to congressional appropriations, including an initial commitment of USD 20m 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.

Boosting offshore wind developments around the world will be the focus of the BigSwitch Offshore Wind event. The international event, which Renewable Energy Technology (RET) is sponsoring, is taking place in Glasgow on 26th and 27th June. It aims to advance technological developments across global offshore wind by encouraging the European renewable energy industry to work with key delegations from the world’s biggest emerging markets, including China and India, as well as the US. For more information on the event, please email RET Editor Heath Reidy at heath.reidy@bric.com.