Wind power has made great advances in recent years. The industry has more opportunities to expand, and the federal government is doing its part to support and encourage that growth.
Last month, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a significant investment in the form of grants for several wind energy research, development and demonstration projects.
The DOE announced the selection of 13 projects to receive a total of $28 million to advance wind energy nationwide. The projects span the technology development spectrum, and they cover all three sectors within the industry, including distributed, offshore and land-based, utility-scale wind.
The DOE notes that utility-scale, land-based wind energy in the United States has grown to 96 gigawatts. Even with that growth, the Department sees opportunities for more expansion based on cost reductions in the areas of offshore, distributed and so-called “tall wind.”
To capitalize on those opportunities, the funding package includes $6 million to projects that qualify for the DOE’s Wind Innovations for Rural Economic Development program. The four projects will support rural electric utilities by developing technology to integrate wind with other distributed energy resources and by simplifying distributed wind energy project development.
Another six projects will receive a total of $7 million to conduct testing in support of innovative offshore wind research and development. They will utilize existing national-level testing facilities.
Two more projects will receive up to a total of $10 million for innovative demonstration technologies and methodologies that reduce the risk and cost of offshore wind energy.
Lastly, one project will receive up to $5 million for manufacturing innovations and cost-effective technology that can help “tall wind,” or wind turbines over 140 meters tall, overcome existing transportation constraints. The DOE notes that taller wind turbine towers provide access to higher wind speeds, increasing energy capture and reducing cost. However, transportation constraints hinder installations by limiting economies of scale.