Major Offshore Wind Initiatives Announced

NORFOLK, VA —  Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu have announced a coordinated, strategic plan to speed up the development of offshore wind energy in the U.S. The plan includes new funding opportunities for up to $50.5 million for rapid, responsible projects that support offshore wind energy deployment and several high priority Wind Energy Areas in the mid-Atlantic.
 
The use of clean, renewable offshore wind energy will help meet the President’s goal of generating 80 percent of the nation’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2035, according to a statement from the departments.
 
"The mid-Atlantic Wind Energy Areas are a key part of our ‘Smart from the Start’ program for expediting appropriate commercial-scale wind energy development in America’s waters," Salazar said. "Through the Strategic Work Plan, the United States is synchronizing new research and development initiatives with more efficient, forward-thinking planning so that we can help quickly stand up an American offshore wind industry. This initiative will spur the type of innovation that will help us create new jobs, build a clean energy future, and compete and win in the technologies of the 21st century."
 
As part of the Strategic Work Plan, Chu announced the release of three solicitations that will represent the $50.5 million over five years, aimed as accelerating offshore wind energy.
 
The solicitation for technology development, with up to $25 million available in funds, will be available for innovative wind turbine design tools and hardware, such as open-source computational tools, system-optimized offshore wind plant concept studies, and coupled turbine rotor and control systems to optimize next-generation offshore wind systems, according to the statement.
 
Up to $18 million over three years is available for baseline studies and targeted environmental research to identify major barriers, and involves offshore wind market and economic analysis, and environmental risk reduction, among others.
 
The Department of Energy will also fund up to $7.5 million over three years for the development and refinement of next-generation designs for wind turbine drivetrains, a core technology required for cost-effective offshore wind power, according to the statement.
 
Salazar also announced four Wind Energy Areas offshore the mid-Atlantic as part of the plan that will study designated areas for potential leasing for offshore wind energy development, including areas in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia.
 
In March, the Department of the Interior also plans to study areas in the North Atlantic states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and in South Atlantic in the spring.
 
The National Offshore Wind Strategy aims to deploy10 gigawatts of offshore wind generating capacity by 2020 and 54 gigawatts by 2030, which would produce enough energy to power 2.8 million and 15.2 million average American homes, respectively, the statement said.
 

"Offshore wind energy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, diversify our energy supply, and stimulate economic revitalization," said Secretary Chu. "The Department of Energy is committed to working with our federal partners to provide national leadership in accelerating offshore wind energy deployment."

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