As a part of the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Energy Department today announced the selection of three pioneering offshore wind demonstrations to receive up to $47 million each over the next four years to deploy innovative, grid-connected systems in federal and state waters by 2017. These projects – including one spearheaded by Washington-based Principle Power and located off the coast of Oregon– will help speed the deployment of more efficient offshore wind power technologies. Building on the Energy Department’s broader efforts to launch a competitive and sustainable offshore wind industry in the United States, these demonstration projects will help further lower costs, drive greater performance and clear hurdles to installing more utility-scale turbines in U.S. waters.
“Offshore wind offers a large, untapped energy resource for the United States that can create thousands of manufacturing, construction and supply chain jobs across the country and drive billions of dollars in local economic investment,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The Energy Department is working with public and private partners to harness this untapped resource in a sustainable and economic manner. The offshore wind projects announced today further this commitment — bringing more clean, renewable energy to our homes and businesses, diversifying our energy portfolio, and reducing costs through innovation.”
“This project presents a unique opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of deep-water wind technology, accelerate economic activity in our region and position the Pacific Northwest to be a leader in these projects,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “I commend the Department of Energy for its support. With ongoing support and careful development, WindFloat Pacific can represent a world-leading advancement in wind energy – demonstrating technologies and methodologies that not only open huge new areas to the prospect of renewable energy development but also bring jobs and opportunity.”
“Climate change is already here, and that means the federal government must support the development of innovative technologies that could make major contributions to increasing clean, renewable power,” said Senator Ron Wyden. “Oregon has tremendous offshore wind resources, so it is appropriate that this technology will have the opportunity to be tested off of Oregon’s South Coast.”
“This is a great step forward to test a new clean energy resource in Oregon,” said Senator Jeff Merkley.
“Today’s announcement is a win-win for Coos Bay. Not only will this federal grant support good-paying jobs on the Oregon coast, it also promotes the renewable energy industry,” said Representative Peter DeFazio. “With this grant, we are making a strong statement about our commitment to cutting carbon emissions and given this week’s U.S. National Climate Assessment, this commitment could not come at a better time.”
In December 2012, the Energy Department announced seven offshore wind demonstration projects, which have focused on design, engineering, and permitting work. The three projects selected today, including the project led by Principle Power, are aimed at deploying offshore wind installations in U.S. waters by 2017. Principle Power will install five 6-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines approximately 18 miles off the coast of Coos Bay, Oregon. The U.S.-developed WindFloat semi-submersible floating foundation will be installed in water more than 1,000 feet deep, demonstrating an innovative solution for deep water wind turbine projects and lowering costs by simplifying installation and eliminating the need for highly specialized ships. More than 60 percent of U.S. offshore wind resources are found in deep waters, including the entirety of the West Coast. Deploying offshore wind technologies for deeper water can help capture resources that are found in waters too deep for traditional bottom-mounted foundations.
Broadly, the Energy Department’s efforts to advance innovative offshore wind technologies support the Obama Administration’s comprehensive National Offshore Wind Strategy to develop a sustainable, world-class offshore wind industry. As part of that strategy, the Energy Department continues to work with partners across the government, including the Department of the Interior, to conduct resource assessments, streamline siting and permitting and overcome technical and market challenges to installation, operations and grid connection. Learn more at the Wind Program’s Offshore Wind Web page.