Earlier this month the Department of Energy announced a 6 year, $180 million initiative to boost the Nation’s wind power capabilities. Starting with $20 million this year, the DOE will spend the money on up to four innovative offshore wind energy installations across the United States. The DOE says the initiative will help move the U.S. closer to harnessing the estimated 4,000 gigawatts of power that could be generated from wind in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes.
The money will be allocated through a competitive solicitation and will be awarded to a consortia with representatives from developers, equipment suppliers, researchers and marine contractors. Awarded funds can be used to fund up to 80 percent of the project design costs and 50 percent of the installation costs. The deadline for Letters of intent is March 30 and applications are due on May 31, 2012.
More after the jump.
The DOE’s program was announced just days after a new obstacle arose to one high-profile offshore project. Dominion Resources Inc., wrote a letter to the Department of the Interior to oppose the creation for a right of way in favor of the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) project. The AWC project would install a power transmission line or backbone from New York to Virginia to which offshore wind farms would connect in order to carry the power to customers on the East coast. We previously reported on the AWC project here.
Dominion’s objection was, in part, based on the concern that by granting the right of way under the current circumstances would unfairly advantage AWC at the expense of other, and perhaps better, transmission projects. In Dominion’s view, the transmission line should follow, not precede the issuance of off-shore wind farm leases.