News yesterday that the Department of Energy had awarded $28 million to a range of innovative offshore wind projects around the country came as, dare we say it, a breath of fresh air?
In total, seven projects will be receiving $4 million each. These projects range from “icebreaking” turbines in Lake Erie to an array of six-megawatt floating deep-sea giants off of Coos Bay, Oregon, as well as turbines that employ cutting-edge foundation design off the coast of Virginia.
The investment hopefully signals that the country is ready to become a leader in offshore wind technology, and is serious about its commitment to an industry that is still in its infancy in the United States (though it’s well-established overseas).
Much of the attention in recent years has been focused on the opportunity of offshore wind in the Atlantic. But these latest projects, which dot both coasts, the Gulf of Mexico and even the Great Lakes, demonstrate the wide-ranging abundance of the country’s wind resources.
An economic analysis prepared for the Department of Energy found that by 2030 the domestic offshore wind industry could create 200,000 jobs, bring in over $70 billion in annual investments and create 4,000 gigawatts of clean power. That is enough to power the entire United States four times over.