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Offshore Wind

Offshore wind projects in the U.S. get $4 million

The Department of Energy announced funding for several offshore wind projects in the United States, including the first freshwater offshore wind project, the Icebreaker, in Lake Erie.

The projects will receive up to $4 million to complete their engineering, design and permitting phase. The recipients of the funding are the Baryonyx Corporation for an installation in state waters near Port Isabel, Texas; Fishermen’s Atlantic City Windfarm off the cost of Atlantic City, New Jersey; Principle Power’s installation in Coos Bay, Oregon; Statoil North America’s installation in the Gulf of Maine; the University of Maine’s installation near Monhegan Island; Dominion Virginia Power of Richmond’s installations off the Coast of Virginia Beach and the Icebreaker project of Lake Erie Development Corporation.

One of the projects considered promising by the Energy Department is the Icebreaker installation planned for Lake Erie off the coast of Cleveland.

Five to nine turbines reaching 20 megawatts to 30 megawatts of capacity will be installed as part of the project which is targeting a generation capacity of 1,000 MW by 2020. The installation is headed by the nonprofit Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation.

The announcement of the D.O.E. funding was matched by LEEDCo’s private partners committing an additional $1 million in cost share.

Icebreaker could potentially receive an additional $46.7 million in federal funding as LEEDCo and its development team will compete among the other award winners for an additional $46.7 million the Energy Department is making available. Three of the seven will receive the additional funding in the following four years.

Aside from providing clean power, Icebreaker is seen as bringing jobs and investments for Ohio. A 2011 Economic Impact Study completed by Kleinhenz & Associates indicates the project will create 500 jobs and result in $80 million of gross regional product. A 1,500 MW scenario by 2012 would create 6,200 jobs and $6.4 billion in GRP.

The Energy Department has been expending broad efforts to launch an offshore wind industry in the United States. Offshore wind represents a large, untapped energy resource for the U.S., offering over 4,000 gigawatts of untapped domestic energy potential.

According to an Energy Department report, offshore wind also has great potential to create jobs. The report concluded that a U.S. offshore wind industry could support up to 200,000 manufacturing, construction, operation and supply chain jobs and drive over $70 billion in annual investments by 2030

The D.O.E. is making available up to $180 million over the next five years to help accelerate the deployment of breakthrough wind power technologies. – K.R. Jalbuena

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