US Department of Energy Releases Offshore Wind Strategy

© Cavan / Adobe Stock
© Cavan / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released its Offshore Wind Energy Strategy, a first of its kind, comprehensive summary of the Department’s efforts to meet President Biden’s goal to deploy 30GW of offshore wind energy by 2030.

The strategy aims to set the nation on a pathway to 110GW or more by 2050.

Deploying 30GW of offshore wind would provide enough power for 10 million homes, support 77,000 jobs, and spur $12 billion per year in direct private investment, says the DOE.

The strategy categorizes DOE’s offshore wind efforts into four pillars:

NOW: Lower costs from $73 per megawatt-hour (MWh) to $51 per MWh by 2030, develop a domestic supply chain, and inform sustainable, just deployment of fixed-bottom offshore wind.

FORWARD: Achieve the Floating Offshore Wind Shot goal of reducing cost by over 70% to $45/MWh by 2035, establish U.S. leadership in floating offshore wind design and manufacturing, and inform sustainable, just deployment of floating offshore wind.

CONNECT: Enable reliable and resilient transmission solutions for large-scale offshore wind deployment.

TRANSFORM: Expand offshore wind co-generation technologies for widespread electrification and decarbonization.

Last year, US offshore wind investments tripled, with an additional $10 billion that spans across the nation 0 from factories in the heartland to coastal communities along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico.

Early Winners

The DOE has also announced the Phase One winners of the FLoating Offshore Wind ReadINess (FLOWIN) Prize, a first-of-its-kind competition to tackle the floating offshore wind energy industry’s biggest supply chains challenges.

About two-thirds of the nation’s offshore wind resource potential is in areas with water depths over 60 meters, where floating offshore wind turbines are more practical and cost effective than fixed-bottom turbines. The three-phase competition is open to floating wind platform designers, fabricators, and project site developers.

The nine winners of Phase One, which focused on determining critical manufacturing and supply chain challenges to the commercialization of floating turbine technology, are:

• Aikido Technologies (San Francisco, California): The Aikido design is a steel semi-submersible floating platform made of steel tubes that can be manufactured at tower facilities. The platform design offers a streamlined installation process, because it can be transported in a unique, horizontal configuration and requires no welding during the final assembly process.

• Beridi USA (Spanish Fork, Utah): Beridi’s Triwind is a concrete-based floating platform that uses damping pools and buoyancy chambers to provide superior stability, limiting fatigue loading. The platform can be mass-manufactured at existing sea ports to provide cost savings.

• FloatHOME (Emeryville, California): FloatHOME’s triangular platform, WindFloat®, now in its fourth generation, provides deep-water stability through unique design features, including a damping system to absorb wave excitation movement. This platform has been fully modularized to enable differing execution plan options, allowing for streamlined manufacturing and adaptable installation.

• OCG-Wind Full Cycle (Oakland, California): By prefabricating necessary parts, OCG-Wind Full Cycle can be quickly assembled near the site of an offshore wind farm. The light-weight four-column semi-submersible floating platform design uses simple, slender components engineered for any wind turbine, making it customizable and ready for large-scale deployment.

• PelaStar (Seattle, Washington): PelaStar’s floating platform is a light-weight tension leg-platform design that minimizes environmental impacts while maintaining cost savings as well as manufacturing and installation flexibility.

• Technip Energies (Houston, Texas): Technip Energies’ INO15 design is a semi-submersible, three-column floating platform. This design can be assembled at ports at low cost and is robust enough to withstand harsh operating environments.

• Tetra Triple-One (Boston, Massachusetts): The Tetra Triple-One floating platform uses a building-block arrangement, which involves fully producing the parts needed in an industrialized manufacturing environment and then transporting them to the assembly site. This makes port-side construction possible for a range of platform configurations, turbine sizes, and site conditions.

• VolturnUS+ Domestically Produced Concrete Hull (Orono, Maine): This team focused on a simplified geometry for their concrete floating platform design, VolturnUS+. With a smaller hull compared to traditional semisubmersibles, the design streamlines construction and deployment processes and reduces costs.

• WHEEL U.S. (Coral Gables, Florida): Incorporating tanks for buoyancy and balance, the ultra-stable WHEEL floating platform design can temporarily act as a barge platform, allowing it to be assembled with the wind turbine near shore and towed to sea. It is compact in size to reduce both costs and carbon footprint.

Each Phase One winner will receive $100,000 cash and $75,000 in vouchers for technical support provided by DOE national laboratories. In total, the FLOWIN Prize has a cash pool of $5.85 million, plus up to $1.175 million in technical support.

Winners from Phase One are eligible to move into the second phase of the competition, in which each team will develop a pathway for mass manufacturing and deployment of its floating offshore wind energy substructure design. Phase Two will have up to five winners, each receiving $450,000 in cash and a technical services voucher valued at $100,000. The competing teams will be judged on their progress in developing a plan for mass manufacturing and deployment of gigawatt-scale, floating offshore wind energy farms.

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