How can the US reach the cutting edge of offshore wind R&D? DOE seeks input

Source: By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive • Posted: Friday, August 3, 2018

  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking input on what is needed to put the nation at the cutting edge of wind power development, according to two Requests for Information published in Thursday’s Federal Register.
  • The agency wants comments on what steps are necessary to advance the U.S.’s wind technology, infrastructure and research and development with a focus on the DOE’s National Offshore Wind Energy R&D test facilities and National Wind Technology Center Facility (NWTC).
  • The DOE requests come as U.S. offshore wind is becoming more competitive, driven in part by better technology and larger turbine blades. Renewable energy goals as well as falling prices in the offshore wind market have caused some state policymakers to pursue offshore wind commitments.

Despite the president’s apparent aversion to wind energy development, his administration wants the U.S. to be at the forefront of the technology.

While the onshore wind energy sector makes up a dominant portion of renewable energy generation capacity in the U.S., offshore wind has thus far not received much attention from federal policymakers. The U.S. lags behind countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, China and the U.K. in terms of cumulative offshore wind capacity, according to a 2017 Global Wind Report.

The DOE hopes these requests will give insight to “the associated equipment, facilities and infrastructure needed to ensure continued world class energy technology development at the NWTC,” as well as “what upgrades to existing facilities or new facilities… and what specific tests and analyses could be carried out… in order to advance the U.S. offshore wind industry,” according to the notices.

Some individual states have committed to significant offshore wind development, including New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, which could give the U.S. up to 7.5 GW of offshore wind capacity in the next few years.