US Government to Fund Research to Improve Offshore Wind and Marine Energy Deployments

The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) have unveiled plans to collaborate and jointly fund research to further support durable and environmentally responsible offshore wind and marine energy deployments in the United States.

The agencies will launch the upcoming funding opportunity through Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO), Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

The goals of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) are to improve the reliability of mooring lines, which are used to attach floating offshore wind and marine energy systems to the seafloor and to reduce noise associated with installing fixed-bottom offshore wind energy foundations.

This funding opportunity will target technologies with applicability to offshore wind and marine energy deployments in all regions of US waters including the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Great Lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico.

The funding call is expected to be divided into two topics. The first topic – led by WETO, WPTO, and BSEE, and in consultation with BOEM – seeks to improve the reliability of mooring lines. Three subtopics are anticipated that cover the testing of mooring ropes for fatigue, the development of robust sensor systems to monitor the condition of moorings, and the validation of array configurations with shared anchors or shared mooring lines that connect multiple wind turbines or marine energy converters.

The second topic – led by WETO and BOEM, and in coordination with BSEE and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – seeks to reduce the noise associated with installing fixed-bottom offshore wind turbines to further minimize effects to aquatic wildlife and expand offshore wind deployment potential.

It is expected that this topic will also contain three subtopics, covering the assessment of quieter installation types or methods, the demonstration of effective noise abatement technologies, and the gathering and dissemination of information on noise reduction during offshore wind installation.

BSEE plans to make the National Oil Spill Response and Renewable Energy Test Facility (Ohmsett) available to interested awardees for testing activities under both topic areas.

The funding opportunity is expected to be released in or about October 2023, according to US DOE.