Out of Washington

March 9, 2006

DOE to Develop Multi-Megawatt Offshore Wind Turbine with General Electric Contract Valued at $27 million, supports President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, has signed a $27 million, multi-year contract with the General Electric Company (GE) to develop a new offshore wind power system over the next several years. Approximately $8 million of the offshore wind project will be cost-shared by DOE.

“Offshore wind technology, another aspect of President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative, can reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources as well as our emissions of pollution and greenhouse gasses,” Douglas L. Faulkner, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy said. “Wind is one of our most important renewable energy resources and this work will allow us to use our resources more extensively and effectively.”

The goal of the project is to design, fabricate and test a multi-megawatt scale wind turbine which could produce electricity at a much-reduced cost. The wind turbine will be located offshore and is expected to produce electricity at a cost of five cents per kilowatt-hour, or 52% less than the current 9.5 cents per hour.

Off-shore wind is part of the Advanced Energy Initiative which President Bush announced in his recent State of the Union address. The initiative seeks to change how we power our homes and offices and automobiles. The NREL and GE-developed advanced wind system will include innovative foundations, construction techniques, rotor designs, drivetrains and electrical components designed for the harsh offshore environment, while optimizing the total life-cycle cost of offshore wind farms.

Although there are currently no offshore wind farms in the United States, several projects are in the permitting process. Preliminary studies indicate that with sufficient research and development support, competitive commercial offerings can be realized and the U.S. offshore wind electric generating capacity could grow significantly over the next two decades. Populated U.S. coastal regions with high energy prices will benefit from the development of this clean, domestic energy resource.

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