U.S. Awards $141 Million for Three Offshore Wind Farms

The U.S. Energy Department will award as much as $47 million each to developers planning wind farms off the coasts of Oregon, Virginia and New Jersey.

The projects have a total of 67 megawatts of capacity and are expected to be connected to the grid by 2017, the agency said today in a statement on its website.

The companies will use new technologies that may make offshore wind more economical. The cost of power from sea-based turbines is more than double from systems on land, one of the reasons there are no commercial wind farms in U.S. waters.

“Offshore wind offers a large, untapped energy resource,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in the statement. The funding is aimed at “bringing more clean, renewable energy to our homes and businesses, diversifying our energy portfolio and reducing costs through innovation.”

Deepwater Wind LLC is developing the 30-megawatt WindFloat Pacific project 18 miles (29 kilometers) off the Oregon coast. It’s using floating turbine platforms from Seattle-based Principle Power Inc. that may be used in deep water.

A Dominion Resources Inc. unit is planning a 12-megawatt wind farm 26 miles off Virginia Beach. Fisherman’s Energy LLC plans to install five 5-megawatt turbines about three miles off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Both projects will use twisted-jacket foundations that are easier and cheaper to manufacture and install than standard foundations.

The three companies will receive the funds over four years. They were selected from seven demonstration projects that each won $4 million in backing from the Energy Department in 2012. The agency will continue to work with developers of two other offshore projects, in Maine and Lake Erie, that are also testing new technologies.

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