WASHINGTON, D.C.—Following an announcement from the U.S. Departments of Energy and Commerce that up to $50.5 million would be available to support offshore wind programs, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) pledged support for offshore wind in Lake Erie and promised to do all he could to support an Ohio application for funds.
“The funding announcement from the Departments of Commerce and Energy is a signal that our federal government believes strongly in the potential of offshore wind to bring new jobs and clean energy to America,” Brown said. “Lake Erie, with its shallow depth and excellent wind resources, is an ideal site for offshore wind development. Organizations and institutions like LEEDCo, Case Western University, BSGU, the University of Toledo, and Ohio State University have all shown extraordinary leadership in bringing offshore wind to this area.
“Our state is poised to lead the nation in clean energy manufacturing and use, and I pledge to do all that I can to support offshore wind in Lake Erie and ensure that our state receives part of this critical funding,” Brown continued.
Yesterday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the release of three solicitations, representing up to $50.5 million over 5 years, to develop breakthrough offshore wind energy technology and to reduce specific market barriers to its deployment:
- Technology Development (up to $25 million over 5 years): The Department of Energy (DOE) will support the development of innovative wind turbine design tools and hardware to provide the foundation for a cost-competitive and world-class offshore wind industry in the United States. Specific activities will include the development of open-source computational tools, system-optimized offshore wind plant concept studies, and coupled turbine rotor and control systems to optimize next-generation offshore wind systems.
- Removing Market Barriers (up to $18 million over 3 years): DOE will support baseline studies and targeted environmental research to characterize key industry sectors and factors limiting the deployment of offshore wind. Specific activities will include offshore wind market and economic analysis; environmental risk reduction; manufacturing and supply chain development; transmission planning and interconnection strategies; optimized infrastructure and operations; and wind resource characterization.
- Next-Generation Drivetrain (up to $7.5 million over 3 years): DOE will fund the development and refinement of next-generation designs for wind turbine drivetrains, a core technology required for cost-effective offshore wind power.
Brown has been a longtime advocate of offshore wind energy. In July, Brown urged the Obama administration to strongly consider establishing the country's first demonstration wind project in Ohio. In April, he introduced The Program for Offshore Wind Energy Research and Development (POWERED) Act of 2010, which would spur research on potential offshore wind projects, expand incentives for offshore wind development, and require the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a comprehensive roadmap for the deployment of offshore wind.
In the 111th Congress, Brown was also the original cosponsor of S. 3062, legislation which would provide the offshore wind industry with enhanced stability by extending production and investment tax credits for offshore wind until 2020. These provisions are vital because of the long lead times required to permit and construct wind turbines offshore, compared to onshore wind energy.
Brown's POWERED Act has been endorsed by The University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio, Case Western Reserve University, The University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, The Ohio State University, The Great Lakes Wind Network, and by wind developers like NRG Bluewater Wind.
More information on the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Energy’s announcement can be found here.