US offers $18.5 million R&D grant to lower offshore costs

NREL, Josh Bauer
NREL, Josh Bauer – Floating substructure designs for offshore wind farms could form part of the research.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry has announced US$18.5 million in funding for a research and development group to work towards reducing the cost of the US offshore wind sector.

The Department of Energy (DoE) will make the funding available to a consortium to conduct US-specific research.

The US faces challenges to offshore wind development, such as deep-water areas that require floating foundations, predicting how Atlantic Ocean hurricanes will affect offshore turbines, and developing a sufficient supply chain.

The country has just one operational offshore wind farm – the five-turbine, 30MW Block Island project off the coast of Rhode Island.

The DoE is asking for applications suggesting research topics addressing technological advances, resource and physical site characterisation improvements, installation, operations and maintenance and supply chain technology solutions.

Consortium members will also be expected to, “contribute funds… and use the research findings to further advance technologies”.

A further $2 million will be allocated for research at the DoE’s national laboratories to support the offshore consortium’s work.

Applicants for the DoE funding have until January 23 to submit concept papers, and March 26 to submit full applications.

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