Firms Get $500,000 Federal Grant to Seek Offshore Wind Power Cost Reductions

Dominion, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Virginia Tech, Alstom Power, and maritime engineering firm Moffatt & Nichol last week received a two-year $500,000 grant from the DOE to seek out ways to reduce the cost of offshore wind generation by at least 25%.

The firms have embarked on a project to achieve more than a 25% reduction in the levelized cost of energy relative to a benchmark 600-MW power station design. Efforts could include integrating innovations in turbine, foundation, installation, and electrical infrastructure in an “optimal combination,” said Mary C. Doswell, senior vice president of Dominion’s Alternative Energy Solutions division."One of the biggest challenges to off-shore wind generation is bringing down the cost so it can be more competitive with other forms of electric power generation," she said.

The grant is one of 41 projects across 20 states totaling $43 million over the next five years that the DOE announced on Sept. 8 to speed technical innovations, lower costs, and shorten the timeline for deploying offshore wind energy systems.

The Dominion-led team will utilize an integrated systems approach for optimizing the hypothetical design of a 600-MW offshore wind project located at a variety of reference sites on the Virginia Outer Continental Shelf, as well as other sites on the U.S. Atlantic coastline from Massachusetts through South Carolina, with a foundation and support substructure suitable for installation in water depths ranging from 10 meters to 60 meters.

Dominion also said in a statement that it is studying what it would take to build a high-voltage underwater transmission line extending from Virginia Beach out to the potential commercial lease area in the Atlantic Ocean. The company plans to complete the study this year, evaluating options to best support multiple offshore wind projects off the coast of Virginia.

Sources: POWERnews, Dominion

CORRECTION: The federal grant is $500,000, not a half a billion dollars as claimed in the original story. POWERnews regrets this error.

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