The U.S. Department of Energy intends to use $30 million from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act to fund research and development projects that will reduce the costs of onshore and offshore wind energy projects. These investments will support the continued growth of wind energy and reinforce its key role as a clean energy source.
“Wind energy is abundant, locally produced, affordable and already provides enough electricity to power 40 million homes,” said US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. “But this is just the beginning – wind power is on the verge of explosive growth.” The Secretary notes that wind power accounted for more than 9% of total national electricity generation in 2021 and that DOE’s goal is “to help remove technology barriers to accelerate the deployment of this affordable resource throughout the country”.
DOE funding is available for a range of R&D efforts focused both on the development of floating offshore wind installations and on the technology needed to better transmit power onshore. They will also fund efforts to improve permitting processes to make distributed wind power more accessible to communities where it can be deployed profitably, as well as efforts to ensure that more coastal communities benefit from the development of wind power. offshore wind farm. Another project will support bat behavior research, technology development and field trials to advance bat deterrent technologies to help bats avoid wind turbines.
As part of the announcement, the DOE released details of an RFI information request on research requirements for anchors and mooring systems that secure floating offshore wind structures to the sea floor in water. deep. This is the first step in informing future work funded by the bipartisan Infrastructure Act to floating offshore wind advance towards cost-effective domestic marketing and manufacturing, including technologies that hold floating turbines in place at sea.
The administration previously announced these research efforts as it set a goal to deploy 15 GW of floating offshore wind by 2035. In a separate announcement also on October 18, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said set the dates for the first auctions of wind farm leases on the Pacific coast, noting that the sites would be the first large commercial U.S. installation of floating offshore wind farms.
Another key research effort will focus on advancing the technologies needed to transmit large amounts of electricity from offshore wind over long distances. Funding in this area ($9.7 million) will support high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission standards for offshore wind, develop and validate controls to ensure reliability and compatibility with alternating current and direct current, and identify and address workforce education and training gaps to support the deployment of HVDC transmission for U.S. offshore wind.
According to the DOE, these investments will complement ongoing work to enable the innovations needed to advance US wind systems, reduce the cost of electricity, and accelerate the deployment of wind energy.