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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it will award $180 million to fund offshore wind energy research and development initiatives, including up to four offshore wind projects.

To support these new demonstration projects, the DOE will make these funds available over six years, subject to congressional appropriations, including an initial commitment of $20 million in fiscal year 2012.

The DOE will focus this latest research and demonstration initiative on innovative technologies that the department says will achieve large cost reductions over existing offshore wind technologies. In addition, the demonstrations aim to address key challenges associated with installing utility-scale offshore wind turbines, connecting offshore turbines to the power grid, and navigating new permitting and approval processes.

In addition to granting the new funding, the DOE will continue to work with partners across the federal government to implement a comprehensive offshore wind energy strategy, conduct resource assessments, and streamline siting and permitting.

According to the DOE, this support will help lower the cost and expedite the deployment of U.S.-made offshore wind energy technologies designed for U.S. coastal conditions, as well as provide opportunities to test these innovations in real offshore environments.

“The new offshore wind energy initiative announced today will help to catalyze the development of offshore wind in America, supporting U.S. innovators as they seek to design and demonstrate next-generation wind energy technologies,” says DOE Secretary Steven Chu. “These investments are critical to ensuring that America remains competitive in this growing global industry that can drive new manufacturing, construction, installation and operation jobs across the country.”

The DOE funds may be used to cover up to 80% of a project’s design costs and 50% of the hardware and installation costs. Letters of intent are due on March 30, and applications are due on May 31.

More information is available here.


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