DoE awards $28m technology demo grants

Seven US projects will use federal funding for engineering and site evaluation

Fishermen’s Energy, Lake Erie Development Corporation, Statoil and Dominion Power are among the recipients of seven technology demonstration grants, totalling $28 million, from the US Department of Energy (DoE).

The long-awaited Advanced Technology Demonstration grants were originally due to be announced by the end of August. They aim to reduce the cost of existing offshore wind technologies and address challenges associated with installation, permitting and grid connection. The $4 million per project will go towards engineering, site evaluation and planning.

Fishermen’s Energy won a grant for its 25MW Atlantic City Windfarm, which the DoE says will use an "advanced bottom-mounted foundation design" along with installation innovations designed to mitigate environmental impacts. Fishermen’s will now focus on final contractor selection, with an emphasis on New Jersey vendors, the DoE said.

Lake Erie Development Corporation secured a grant for its planned 27MW wind farm off the coast of Cleveland, on Lake Erie. Plans call for "ice breaker" monopole foundations designed to reduce ice loading.

The DoE selected Statoil North America for its planned 12MW Hywind Maine project, which will use floating spar buoy structures at a depth of about 140 metres.

The University of Maine received a grant for its pilot floating offshore project of two 6MW turbines on concrete semi-submersible foundations. The DOE says these will provide a cost-effective alternative to steel foundations.

Dominion Virginia Power won a grant for plans to install two 6MW turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach. Twisted jacket foundations will offer the strength of traditional jacket designs while using significantly less steel.

The DoE selected Baryonyx Corporation for its plans to install 6MW of wind power in state waters near Port Isabel, Texas, using an advanced jacket foundation design. Baronyx has planned a 1.8GW wind farm, Rio Grande, off the South Padre Island.

Finally, Principle Power secured funds for its plan to install five semi-submersible floating foundations as part of a 30MW project sited in deep water, 16-24 kilometres from Coos Bay, Oregon.

One project that did not secure funding was the Offshore Wind Innovation and Research Center, proposed as a "technology-agnostic" test site by the University of Delaware and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

At the end of this funding phase, the DoE will select up to three projects that will receive up to an additional $47 million over four years, subject to appropriations by Congress. The money will go towards design, fabrication and deployment phases, with the aim of reaching commercial operation by 2017.

The DoE has also released results of a study that it commissioned from Navigant Consulting. It finds that the US offshore wind industry could create $70 billion worth of investments by 2030, and support up to 200,000 jobs in manufacturing, construction, operations and supply chain.