Energy secretary Steven Chu (pictured) announced $43 million over the next five years aimed at speeding technical innovations, lowering costs, and shortening the timeline for deploying offshore wind energy systems.
The 41 projects across 20 states will aim advance wind turbine design tools and hardware, improve information about U.S. offshore wind resources, and accelerate the deployment of offshore wind by reducing market barriers such as supply chain development, transmission, and infrastructure.
The selections focus on three technical approaches to advancing offshore technology and seven approaches to removing market barriers to responsible offshore wind energy deployment. Funding is subject to Congressional appropriations.
Some $38 million has been made available over three years for projects to accelerate the development of geothermal energy technologies. Thirty-two projects in 14 states will develop and test new ways to locate geothermal resources and improve resource characterization, drilling, and reservoir engineering techniques.
Chu has finalized a $150 million loan guarantee to 1366 Technologies Inc. for the development of a multicrystalline wafer manufacturing project that could significantly drive down the costs of solar manufacturing. The project will be capable of producing approximately 700 to 1,000 megawatts of silicon-based wafers annually using a manufacturing process called “direct wafer.”
Chu has also announced 16 projects supporting activities in 24 states and the District of Columbia to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and seven additional projects in seven states to help prepare college students for careers designing and building advanced vehicle technologies.
Projects to support community planning for plug-in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure will receive $8.5 million through the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities initiative to facilitate local public-private partnerships that will develop EV deployment strategies.
DOE’s Graduate Automotive Technology Education, or GATE, initiative will award $6.4 million over the course of five years to support seven Centers of Excellence at American colleges, universities, and university-affiliated research institutions. The awardees will focus on three critical automotive technology areas: hybrid propulsion, energy storage, and lightweight materials, according to the DOE.