U.S. Providing $18.5 Million for Offshore Wind Research and Development

Deepwater Wind LLC project off the coast of Rhode Island, the first offshore wind farm in the U.S.. Credit: Deepwater Wind

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $18.5 million in new funding for an offshore wind research and development (R&D) consortium that will conduct U.S.-specific research aimed at reducing the cost of offshore wind in U.S. waters.

The consortium will be setup as a cooperative private-public innovation hub addressing topics such as wind plant technology advancement, resource and physical site characterization, installation, operations and maintenance, and supply chain technology solutions, the Department said in a statement released Thursday.

The consortium will include members of the offshore wind industry, who will also contribute funds to the consortium and use the research findings to further advance technologies, according to the DOE.

“As the former Governor of one of the largest wind producing states, I know the value of wind power in our energy portfolio,” said Secretary Perry, who made the announcement. “This work will further DOE’s goal to accelerate the development of offshore wind technologies by supporting fundamental research to reduce the costs of offshore wind energy to successfully compete in regional energy markets.”

The DOE said the funding is part of the nation’s strategy to capitalize on momentum in the nascent offshore wind market, with the nation’s first commercial offshore wind project, the Block Island Wind Farm, and additional projects proposed along America’s coastlines.

In its statement, the Department of Energy noted that the United States has several specific challenges that require industry-wide collaboration to reduce costs, including the use of floating wind turbines for offshore wind development in deeper water, the need for models predicting how Atlantic hurricanes will impact offshore turbines, and supply chain and operations and maintenance solutions to address the challenges of building and maintaining turbines at sea.

The DOE intends to select an administrator to coordinate the collaborative R&D activities conducted by the consortium.

In addition to this $18.5 million funding, $2 million will also be allocated to research at DOE’s national laboratories to support consortium R&D activities.