Ocean Protection, Ocean Energy
February 11 2011

DOE and DOI Unveil Offshore Wind Energy Strategic Plan

by Rick Wilson

On February 7th, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a coordinated strategic plan for offshore wind energy production.

The joint plan, A National Offshore Wind Strategy: Creating an Offshore Wind Industry in the United States, is the first interagency plan on offshore wind energy. The plan focuses on overcoming three key challenges: the relatively high cost of offshore wind energy; technical challenges surrounding installation, operations, and grid interconnection; and the lack of site data and experience with project permitting processes.

In support of this Strategic Work Plan, Secretary Chu announced three solicitations, representing up to $50.5 million over 5 years, to develop breakthrough offshore wind energy technology and to reduce specific market barriers to its deployment.

Secretary Salazar also identified four Wind Energy Areas offshore the mid-Atlantic. The areas, on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Delaware (122 square nautical miles), Maryland (207), New Jersey (417), and Virginia (165), will receive early environmental reviews that will help to lessen the time required for review, leasing and approval of offshore wind turbine facilities.

For more information, including links to the complete National Offshore Wind Strategy and fact sheet, see the DOE/DOI press release.