U.S. Looking into Offshore Wind Farms

wind farm offshore

The U.S. is moving toward creating more clean, domestic energy sources with the announcement of seven awards for offshore wind projects.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the projects, which are slated for Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Virginia. They mark an important step in the U.S. Department of Energy’s efforts to create an American offshore wind industry.

“The United States has tremendous untapped clean energy resources, and it is important for us to develop technologies that will allow us to utilize those resources in ways that are economically viable,” Chu said. “Today’s announcement of awards to the first offshore wind projects in the U.S. paves the way to a cleaner, more sustainable and more diverse domestic energy portfolio that develops every source of American energy.”

Each of the seven projects will receive as much as $4 million for engineering, design and permitting. Up to three of the projects will be selected for follow-on phases that include siting, construction and installation.

All told, the selected projects will receive as much as $47 million apiece over four years subject to Congressional appropriations and will, if all goes well, achieve full commercial operation by 2017.

wind farm offshore

The U.S. Energy Department commissioned a report that suggested offshore wind in the U.S. could produce more than 4,000 gigawatts of clean energy, create and support some 200,000 jobs in manufacturing, construction, operation and related fields and lead to more than $70 billion in annual investments by the year 2030.

The U.S. has already seen the amount of land-based wind power produced domestically grow by an impressive amount. Last year, 32 per cent of all new electric capacity added to the power grid in the U.S. came through land-based wind power, for a total of $14 billion in new investment.

More importantly for the struggling U.S. economy, nearly 70 per cent of the equipment installed at U.S. wind farms was built by domestic manufacturers.

The Obama administration is currently calling on Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit, which was a major driver behind the boom in wind power, and other clean energy tax credits which are set to expire at the end of the year.

By Richard Barnes


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