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Federal & State Initiatives Aim To Spur Offshore Wind Development

There are some serious advantages to offshore wind. Offshore winds are much more powerful than those on land, and they reach their peak during the afternoon when people use a significant amount of electricity. This makes offshore turbines especially attractive to coastal power companies because these turbines can be placed close to the load centers, such as big cities, without needing additional lengthy transmission lines. Although there are some disadvantages associated with installing offshore wind farms — including costlier installation fees and harsher environmental conditions for the units — the advantages still outweigh them significantly.

But, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to work on the downsides and challenges, but the immense investments needed that won’t pay off quickly means that traditional investment might not be up to the task, at least not alone.

Fortunately, two recent press releases that crossed the CleanTechnica desk show us that the federal government and the State of New York are trying to make this happen.

New York’s Offshore Wind Innovation Hub

The Offshore Wind Innovation Hub (OWIH), based in Brooklyn, has officially opened its doors and is issuing a call for applications. The OWIH was established mid-2022 to discover and boost promising start-ups that can revolutionize the offshore wind industry.

Equinor and bp, which are developing the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind offshore wind projects in collaboration with Urban Future Lab (UFL), NYU Tandon School of Engineering, National Offshore Wind Research & Development Consortium (NOWRDC), and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), have come together to launch a three-year initiative.

The Offshore Wind Innovation Hub in Industry City, designed to help startups test their ideas and accelerate commercialization, opens its doors for a six-month intensive mentoring program beginning June 2023. Startups will have access to co-working space and programs that equip them with the tools necessary to form strategic partnerships.

“We’re thrilled to launch the Accelerator Program at our Offshore Wind Innovation Hub with our esteemed partners to accelerate innovation in New York’s burgeoning offshore wind industry,” said Molly Morris, President of Equinor Wind US. “The demand for offshore wind is rapidly increasing, and innovative ideas and technological advancement are needed to help the industry develop in the U.S. and beyond.”

The Offshore Wind Innovation Hub is searching for startups with inventive technology and solutions that are related to the development of offshore wind in New York. In addition, organizations or individuals can apply for a Community Membership which offers admission into co-working facilities at Industry City, along with exclusive programming opportunities, workshops and networking events throughout the year.

“We’re looking for New York’s best,” said Dave Lawler, chairman and president of bp America. “We know innovation is in New Yorkers’ DNA. It’s at the core of bp, too, as we transform ourselves to reach net-zero by 2050 or sooner and help the world get there too. At this incredible moment for growing offshore wind in our country, we want to empower New York’s startups to lead the nation.”

The US Department of Energy Wants To Stimulate Floating Offshore Wind Development

In order to further encourage the advancement of offshore wind energy, representatives from four governmental departments — Energy, Interior, Commerce and Transportation–will gather virtually on Feb 22nd and 23rd 2023 in an ambitious initiative called Floating Offshore Wind Shot. The aim is to reduce costs by more than 70% over the next 15 years.

If we unlock the potential of two-thirds of America’s offshore wind energy resource that lies in deep water areas, we’ll need floating platforms. This would then help millions of homes and businesses to be powered with clean energy. This would not only help our country meet its climate goals but also create a significant economic advantage for all involved — from federal and state governments to local communities, tribes, and the private sector. To achieve this landmark goal requires strong collaboration between these various entities.

The interagency summit has been designed to bring together different stakeholders in order to strengthen the collective vision for large-scale floating offshore wind energy deployment. They will discuss pressing issues such as technical, social, equity, and environmental challenges, but also how these can be leveraged into opportunities.

At this summit, they will explore the Floating Offshore Wind Shot objectives, discuss plans and framework for future development, share existing resources with attendees, and create opportunities to become further involved in this exciting project.

On the first day, participants will hear from acclaimed leaders on floating offshore wind energy, obtain a comprehensive grasp of the Shot project and learn about noteworthy national deployment efforts for its success. Then, Day 2 brings insights from state authorities and industry stakeholders who would share their perspectives regarding this renewable energy source as well as articulate future aims to enhance the Shot scheme.

The Wind Shot initiative, which is associated with the US Department of Energy’s Energy Earthshots Initiative, seeks to address vital technical issues for achieving climate objectives in the United States while generating employment and economic opportunities throughout our nation’s communities.

Nearly two-thirds of the United States’ offshore wind energy potential lies in waters too deep for fixed-bottom wind turbine foundations, necessitating the utilization floating platforms. If these colossal structures are to be produced and developed effectively, there must an all-out attempt to accelerate technology costs, build out necessary transmission infrastructure, and create a robust domestic supply chain. Achieving the goals set forth by Floating Offshore Wind Shot will require perseverance from those involved.

Why This Matters

Turbines account for a mere fraction of the total expense associated with offshore projects, as infrastructure, upkeep, and oversight also need to be taken into consideration. Installation fees, electrical connections costs, and operational & maintenance (O&M) expenditures are significant elements in the cost breakdown for wind farms located off-shore compared to those on land. What’s more is that these outlays rapidly rise if the project site lies further from shore or deeper underwater.

While these projects probably won’t make turbines cheaper, chipping away at 1/2 to 2/3 of the costs of offshore installations would make a huge difference.

Featured image provided by Offshore Wind Innovation Hub.

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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.


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