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Originally published in Interiors & Sources

12/13/2012

Energy Department Eyes Offshore Wind

 
Offshore wind turbines may present a viable renewable option in untapped areas.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced seven offshore wind awards for projects in Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Virginia.

As part of the Energy Department’s broader efforts to launch an offshore wind industry in the United States, these engineering, design and deployment projects will support innovative offshore installations in state and federal waters for commercial operation by 2017.

“The United States has tremendous untapped clean energy resources, and it is important for us to develop technologies that will allow us to utilize those resources in ways that are economically viable,” says U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.

Offshore wind represents a large, untapped energy resource for the United States – offering over 4,000 gigawatts of clean, domestic electricity potential, four times the nation’s current total generation capacity.

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.

Offshore wind represents an economic and energy opportunity that could mirror the success of land-based wind development.

Last year, land-based wind power represented 32% of all new electric capacity additions in the U.S., accounting for $14 billion in new investment. Nearly seventy percent of the equipment installed at those U.S. wind farms – including wind turbines and components like towers, blades, gears and generators – is now from domestic manufacturers, doubling from 35% in 2005.

The Production Tax Credit (PTC), which is set to expire at the end of this year, has been a major driver of this tremendous expansion – helping to employ thousands of Americans and launch new businesses across the country. To continue the growth of U.S. wind energy production and component manufacturing, the Administration has called on Congress to extend successful clean energy tax credits like the PTC.

The Energy Department investment will help speed the deployment of stronger, more efficient offshore wind power technologies and showcase innovative technologies – helping to further lower costs and drive greater performance. These projects will also help clear hurdles to installing utility-scale turbines in U.S. waters, connecting to the power grid and navigating new siting and permitting processes.

The Energy Department will work with each project to test these innovations in real offshore environments and conduct comprehensive instrumentation and data analysis that will help accelerate future U.S. offshore wind deployment.

 

 
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