Government officials today announced major steps forward in support of offshore wind energy in the United States, including new funding opportunities for companies interested in offshore wind energy deployment.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu released a joint statement that announed the availability of up to $50.5 million for projects that support offshore wind energy deployment.
Salazar also identified several high priority wind energy areas in the mid-Atlantic that will spur rapid, responsible development of this abundant renewable resource.
Offshore wind development became much more attractive during the BP Gulf Oil Spill crisis, with many advocates boasting “there’s no such thing as an offshore wind spill.” Since then, many states have been pushing the federal government to say yes to offshore wind farms.
In April 2010, the government approved America’s first offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. When completed, Cape Wind will provide three quarters of the Cape and Islands electricity needs in average winds.
Secretary Chu announced that the money will be dispensed over the next five years to companies and individuals that develop breakthrough offshore wind energy technology and find ways to reduce market barriers to its deployment.
Under the National Offshore Wind Strategy (PDF), the Department of Energy is pursuing a scenario that includes deployment of deploying 10 gigawatts of offshore wind generating capacity by 2020 and 54 gigawatts by 2030.
This includes development in both federal and state offshore areas, including along Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts as well as in Great Lakes and Hawaiian waters. Those levels of development would produce enough energy to power 2.8 million and 15.2 million average American homes, respectively.
Click here for a fact sheet on the National Offshore Wind Strategy.
Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - phault
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