President Barack Obama has unveiled his fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget proposal, which requests $27.2 billion for energy initiatives, including sizable funding for wind power and other renewable energy efforts.
Of the $27.2 billion requested for the Department of Energy (DOE), approximately $2.27 billion will be allotted specifically to the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
The administration has requested that $95 million in the budget go toward wind energy – a slight improvement over the $93.3 million included in last year's budget. Of the $95 million, 38% will be devoted to "innovations," 26% to systems integration, 24% to emerging technologies and 12% to market barriers.
The budget supports the extension of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Section 1603 program, as well as includes $350 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to invest in cleantech research and development, $290 million for advanced manufacturing, $60 million for energy-storage research, and $310 million for solar energy initiatives.
As part of the administration's goal of reducing energy-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 17% by 2020 and by 83% by 2050, the DOE has set specific objectives for its wind energy program.
The government will aim to reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for utility-scale onshore wind energy – without subsidization – from a 2010 baseline price of $0.082/kWh (Class 4 wind speed areas; 7.25 m/s mean wind speed at 50 meters above ground) to $0.077/kWh in 2013 and $0.06/kWh by 2020.
To achieve these cost reductions, the DOE will work on initiatives to increase rotor diameters from around 77 meters to 118 meters, increase tower hub height from 80 meters to 110 meters and reduce plant losses from around 10% to 8%.
Notably, the administration's 2013 budget request explicitly "de-emphasizes" onshore wind, making offshore wind the cornerstone of the president's wind energy plan.
"Wind energy has become a commercial success, and EERE's efforts will concentrate on the next generation of challenges and opportunities, including a new focus on capturing America's enormous offshore wind resources at a competitive price," the budget proposal states. "In addition, EERE will continue to address key deployment barriers limiting larger-scale deployment."
The administration will aim to reduce the unsubsidized cost of offshore wind energy (Class 6 wind speed areas; 9.25 m/s mean wind speed at 50 meters above ground) from a 2010 baseline price of $0.253/kWh to $0.217/kWh in 2013 and $0.093/kWh by 2020.
By 2030, the DOE envisions 54 GW of offshore wind deployed in federal and state waters.
Other offshore wind power goals include increasing offshore wind turbine rotor diameters from 107 meters to 156 meters, improving controls for a lighter tower, reducing plant losses from 12% to 10%, increasing component life from around 10 years to 20 years, and improving access to sites with greater wind speeds through the development of taller wind towers and higher-capacity wind turbines.
The full FY 2013 budget request to Congress is available here.