The US Department of Energy has unveiled new plans to boost investments in the U.S. offshore wind energy sector. The Biden administration wants to target a multitude of aspects, including new technology, research partnerships and transmission planning.
In late February this year, the Biden administration held the Floating Offshore Wind Shot™ Summit. The meeting brought together the Departments of Energy, Commerce, Transport and the Interior, and various parties within the offshore wind energy sector to discuss strategies to boost offshore wind.
There were some key objectives of this summit. The first objective is to reduce the costs of offshore wind energy by 70% in the next 10 years. The second goal is to achieve 15 GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2035.
According to estimates, around 60% of the US’s offshore wind energy potential is located in deep-water areas that would need floating platforms. This potential could provide clean, renewable power to millions of households across the U.S. To utilize this potential, it would require a robust strategy that covers technical, social and environmental hurdles.
There are several key areas the DOE is targeting to boost offshore wind:
- Transmission planning
The DOE is commissioning a new West Coast Offshore Wind Transmission Study. The study, which will last just under two years, will examine how to boost power transmission from offshore wind to serve households in the West Coast.
Financing for the study will come from the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, a law that seeks to lower inflation and boost domestic energy production. The Inflation Reduction Act has set aside $100 million in funding towards transmission research and planning. The study will serve as a stepping stone to address practical limitations in power transmission from offshore wind.
- Boosting research
The DOE has introduced a new series of collaborations between research organizations within the renewables sector. Some key partnerships include:
- DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will work together on the Initiation of Offshore Wind Operations and Maintenance Roadmap. The roadmap will cover new methods to improve costs, reliability and efficiency of offshore wind operations.
- The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium (NOWRDC) will now include the state of California. The research consortium is financed by the DOE, and will fund R&D studies to reduce the cost of offshore wind in states like California.
- DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to collaborate on a floating data collection buoy, deployed 15 miles from the coast of Oahu in Hawaii. The buoy will record important meteorological data that is useful for offshore wind operations.
Boosting power generation from renewables requires cross-collaboration in the industry between experts, policy makers, and researchers is crucial. New York Energy Week brings together key people in the energy market in various sectors such as finance, government, law, media and academia. Find out some of the ways you can get involved here. NYEW is also hosting key market players in the U.S. energy industry for its decennial anniversary between June 19th to June 21st 2023.