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R&D roadmap charts course to US offshore wind growth

Fri 16 Nov 2018 by David Foxwell

R&D roadmap charts course to US offshore wind growth
Alicia Barton: “the US is serious about establishing a leadership position in the rapidly growing offshore wind industry”

A roadmap that will guide development of offshore wind technology, drive innovation and identify priority areas has been launched in the US.

The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, the first federally funded public-private partnership focusing on advancing research and development to accelerate the offshore wind industry in the US, has announced the release of its first Research and Development Roadmap.

Established in response to industry-led feedback, the roadmap establishes a long-term vision for innovative offshore wind technology development in the US and identifies priorities for establishing the industry as a leader in the clean energy sector.

In June 2018, the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) was awarded US$18.5M by the US Department of Energy to lead an offshore wind research and development consortium. The consortium is growing and expanding on New York’s work.

The Department of Energy award, matched by NYSERDA, is being used to establish an independent partnership that is market-driven and industry-led.

NYSERDA president and chief executive Alicia Barton said, “The National Offshore Wind Consortium is a symbol for the rest of the world that the US is serious about establishing a leadership position in the rapidly growing global offshore wind industry.

“Led by NYSERDA, the Department of Energy and industry partners, I am proud of the consortium’s forward-thinking vision to advance the cost-effective and responsible development of offshore wind in the US and look forward to supporting research and development that unleashes this industry’s potential.”

The consortium will prioritise, support and promote research and development activity that targets barriers that slow down the adoption of offshore wind and support US-based manufacturing and offshore wind supply chain and infrastructure.

Public and private partners were enlisted to support consortium initiatives that will focus on driving further cost reductions for offshore wind, reducing risk for investors and expanding the range of feasible project sites in each of the five US offshore regions.

The consortium will fund research and development initiatives that focus on:

  • Offshore wind technology advancement, including research and development opportunities that address near-term and medium-term challenges to reducing development costs in the initial phases of US offshore wind projects.
  • Offshore wind power resource and site characterisation, in order to reduce the risk through research and development that focus on activity that reduces the cost, time, and uncertainty involved in site characterisation for offshore wind developers on the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • Installation, operation and maintenance, and the supply chain, focusing on research and development activity that reduces the cost of construction, installation, and operation and maintenance.

Focusing on the research and development priorities identified in the roadmap, the consortium intends to distribute research funds through a series of open solicitations over the next four years.

The first request for proposals under the roadmap is expected to be announced in 2019. After the first round of competitive solicitations, the roadmap will be regularly revised to incorporate up-to-date stakeholder feedback and new research priorities and objectives that support the evolving offshore wind market.

The consortium’s board of directors includes offshore wind industry leaders, states, US representatives of national utilities and national laboratories. 

Board members include representatives from the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center at New York State University at Stony Brook; Carbon Trust International; National Grid; NYSERDA; Renewables Consulting Group; and national laboratories as well as offshore wind developers Avangrid Renewables; Deepwater Wind; EDF Renewable Energy; EDP Renewables; Equinor; innogy; Northland Power; Ørsted; and Shell. 

Building on successful European models, the consortium is engaging private sector support that will allow it to chart a path to financial self-sufficiency, so it can continue its work well beyond the initial four-year federal award period.


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