DOE Acquires New Offshore Wind Research Facility

January 8, 2013

A new Department of Energy research facility will help eliminate a major hurdle for offshore wind and ocean power development and bring the U.S. closer to tapping the more than the estimated 4,000 gigawatts of wind power blowing along the nation’s coasts and the more than 1.2 terrawatt-hours of energy that could be generated by America’s coastal waters annually.

Questions about the accuracy of offshore data from new measurement technologies have made some investors hesitant to back offshore energy projects. The Reference Facility for Offshore Renewable Energy, located at the Chesapeake Light Tower that is about 13 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia, will be used to test the new technologies designed to determine power-generating potential of offshore winds and waters. Research at the facility will help verify technologies that can collect reliable data and help improve those technologies. This knowledge will provide potential investors confidence when reviewing offshore development proposals.

DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, will describe plans for the facility at an 11:45 a.m. talk today at the 93rd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, which runs through Thursday in Austin, Texas.