The Energy Department announced what it said are new investments in its bid to secure U.S. leadership in floating offshore wind development by advancing offshore wind transmission planning, research and technology, and partnerships.
DOE said that two-thirds of U.S. offshore wind resource are located in deep-water areas that require floating platforms. It said its latest actions are intended to support the goals of its Floating Offshore Wind Shot to reduce the cost of floating offshore wind energy by more than 70% by 2035 and deploy 15 GW of floating offshore wind by 2035.
With funds from the Inflation Reduction Act, DOE is launching a West Coast Offshore Wind Transmission Study, a planned 20-month analysis to look at how the country can expand transmission for West Coast communities. Study findings would be used to develop plans through 2050 to address transmission constraints that currently limit offshore wind development along the West Coast. It is also expected to evaluate multiple pathways to reaching offshore wind goals while supporting grid reliability, resilience, and ocean co-use.
The study is the first announced project from some $100 million included within the Inflation Reduction Act for transmission planning and complements an analysis released today by DOE that evaluates existing West Coast offshore wind energy transmission research. The analysis identifies deployment gaps that the wind industry must address to successfully develop offshore wind energy off the nation’s West Coast.
DOE also announced a number of research investments and collaborations:
Expansion of National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium (NOWRDC): The research consortium, funded by DOE and others, announced that California is becoming the seventh state, and first state located along the West Coast, to join the Consortium. Pending final approval, California and the Consortium are expected to collaborate to fund R&D projects that respond to critical, near-term offshore wind development priorities. California’s addition to the Consortium is expected to bring a new focus on reducing costs of floating offshore wind.
Initiation of Offshore Wind Operations and Maintenance Roadmap: DOE and its Sandia National Laboratories and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced the development of an industry-informed roadmap for new operations and maintenance technologies and processes to enhance the cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and reliability at offshore wind sites.
Lidar Buoy Deployment in Hawaii: DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management have deployed a floating scientific research buoy located approximately 15 miles east of Oahu, Hawaii to collect offshore wind resource, meteorological, and oceanographic data.
The raft of announcements are part of DOE’s inaugural Floating Offshore Wind Shot Summit, which supports the interagency Floating Offshore Wind Shot unveiled last September.