Energy Department to fund projects that aim to lower cost of wind energy production

Source: By Megan Ruggles, Utilioty Dive • Posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The $30 million is meant for projects that improve lightweight composite materials and additive manufacturing for wind turbine components.

Offshore wind turbines at sunset. The Energy Department is expanding funding for wind turbine manufacturing as the Biden administration pursues 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030. Matt Cardy via Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Energy will pour $30 million into funding to advance manufacturing processes for more cost-effective wind power generation.

Grants will be awarded for projects aimed at improving lightweight composite materials and additive manufacturing for wind turbine components, the department announced in a release. Concept papers are due March 23, and complete project applications must be submitted to the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technology Office by May 9.

The initiative will support federal efforts to make wind energy more affordable by decreasing production costs.

The department said improving the performance of lightweight composite materials in wind turbine parts will enable more efficient power generation. It will also lighten the weight of vehicle loads, thereby lowering fuel costs.

Additionally, the funding opportunity seeks to streamline additive manufacturing processes for rapid prototyping, tooling, fabrication and testing of large wind blades to make them more cost-effective.

“Investing in next-generation materials that will lower the financial barriers to widespread deployment supports President Biden’s domestic manufacturing and clean energy goals,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm in a statement on the initiative.

The projects will also support priorities in the Supply Chain Roadmap for Offshore Wind Energy, a report by the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium which outlines steps for developing a domestic offshore wind energy supply chain by 2030.

“A manufacturing supply chain is already emerging in more than a dozen locations up and down the U.S. coast in support of the offshore wind industry,” said Ross Gould, vice president for Supply Chain Development and Research at the Business Network for Offshore Wind, in a statement on the roadmap.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is one manufacturer already planning to scale its offshore wind power supply chain along the East Coast. The company submitted a proposal for a wind turbine parts facility in New York state and has a rotor blade facility under construction in Virginia.