On Friday, June 15th, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced the award of a US$ 18.5 million grant to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to establish the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium. The Consortium will advance the cost-effective and responsible development of offshore wind in the United States.

NYSERDA is partnering with the Carbon Trust and the Renewables Consulting Group (RCG) in the development of the Consortium, which will further be supported through a public-private partnership including the offshore wind industry, utilities, research laboratories, and other states.

In recent months, momentum in the United States offshore wind market has grown, with ambitious targets set by states such as New York and New Jersey, and Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut awarding contracts for approximately 1.4 GW of new capacity. This Consortium will support these, and other offshore wind developers and states, to deliver commercial-scale offshore wind projects, at lower costs.

The Consortium took inspiration from the Carbon Trust’s flagship Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme, which since its inception in 2008 has delivered significant cost reduction through the development and delivery of collaborative innovation and R&D projects. Building on this proven industry-led approach the Consortium will focus on projects defined together with the offshore wind developers, who will help steer the projects to ensure maximum impact and value for money.

The Consortium’s programme will advance offshore wind plant technologies; develop innovative methods for wind resource and site characterization; and support advanced technology solutions for installation, operation, maintenance, and the supply chain. The strategic aim is to reduce the cost of offshore wind in the United States.

Jan Matthiesen, Director, Carbon Trust marked the award, “The Carbon Trust is pleased to bring our significant experience and industry-led approach to steer this important research and development programme. We have been at the forefront of delivering cost reduction across the European offshore wind market and we are excited to be involved in helping translate these cost reductions to a new market with enormous potential. The United States has ambitions to be the world leader in installed offshore wind capacity, and it is exactly this sort of collaborative program that can help deliver on that goal.”

Doug Pfeister, Managing Director, RCG, commented, “I am proud to serve in a leadership role of the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium and support the venture with RCG’s experienced staff. We're delighted that the DOE has selected RCG, NYSERDA and the Carbon Trust to advance R&D efforts for offshore wind energy in the United States. The team assembled will deliver incredible value as we look to bring much more of this powerful renewable resource into the energy mix in New York and beyond."

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “NYSERDA is pleased to be working with the Carbon Trust and Renewables Consulting Group to establish the first federally supported offshore wind research and development consortium in the United States. Building off the success seen in Europe, the consortium’s work will provide valuable technical and analytical insight lowering the costs of offshore wind to develop a robust and thriving industry that will lead to job creation and economic development. The work conducted by the consortium complements Governor Cuomo’s call to build offshore wind in a cost-effective and responsible way that will benefit all New Yorkers.”

The US$ 18.5 million grant from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will be matched by financial support from NYSERDA and is for a term of four years. DOE has also announced provision of an additional US$2 million to DOE’s national laboratories to support the Consortium’s R&D activities. 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 when federal support ends.

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