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Energy Department Invests in Pioneering U.S. Offshore Wind Projects

December 19, 2012

Wind  turbines in the ocean.

The Energy Department has taken another step toward establishing U.S. offshore wind energy projects in the same way turbines like these harness wind power in Europe.
Credit: Seimens

The Energy Department on December 12 announced seven awards for offshore wind projects in Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia. These engineering, design, and deployment projects will support innovative offshore installations in state and federal waters for commercial operation by 2017.

In the initial phase, each project will receive up to $4 million to complete the engineering, design, and permitting phases of this award. The Department will select up to three of these projects for follow-on phases that focus on siting, construction, and installation and aim to achieve commercial operation by 2017. These projects will receive up to $47 million each over four years, subject to Congressional appropriations.

The seven projects selected for the first phase of this six-year initiative are located on the East and West Coasts, in the Gulf of Mexico, and Lake Erie. On the East Coast, Fishermen's Atlantic City Windfarm plans to install up to six direct-drive turbines in state waters three miles off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey, with expected commercial operation by the end of 2014; Statoil North America of Stamford, Connecticut, plans to deploy four 3-megawatt wind turbines on floating spar buoy structures in the Gulf of Maine off Boothbay Harbor at a water depth of approximately 460 feet; the University of Maine plans to install a pilot floating offshore wind farm with two 6-megawatt direct-drive turbines on concrete semi-submersible foundations near Monhegan Island; and Dominion Virginia Power of Richmond, Virginia, plans to design, develop, and install two 6-megawatt direct-drive turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach.

In the Gulf, Baryonyx Corporation, based in Austin, Texas, plans to install three 6-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines in state waters near Port Isabel, Texas. On the Pacific Coast, Seattle, Washington-based Principle Power plans to install five semi-submersible floating foundations outfitted with 6-megawatt direct-drive offshore wind turbines in deep water 10 to 15 miles from Coos Bay, Oregon. And inland, the Lake Erie Development Corporation, a regional public-private partnership based in Cleveland, Ohio, plans to install nine 3-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines on "ice breaker" monopile foundations. These are designed to reduce ice loading on Lake Erie, seven miles off the coast of Cleveland.

Offshore wind offers more than 4,000 gigawatts of electricity potential in the United States. According to a new report commissioned by the Energy Department, a U.S. offshore wind industry that takes advantage of this abundant domestic resource could support up to 200,000 manufacturing, construction, operation, and supply-chain jobs across the country and drive over $70 billion in annual investments by 2030. See the Energy Department press release, the Offshore Wind Technology Web page, and the Wind Program website.

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Content Last Updated: 09/21/2011