Offshore wind projects gain federal funding

The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium (NOWRDC) announced $3.4 million in funding for six new wind projects in supply chain efficiency, asset monitoring, and inspection.

Three new supply chain projects are aimed at ensuring quality component production and simplifying transportation of major wind plant components. Recipients include the Electric Power Research Institute for “Verifying Offshore Wind Turbine Blade Integrity During Manufacture”; GE Renewable Energy for “Weld Assembly of Large Castings”; and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for “Standardized Scalable Mooring Solutions Optimized for the U.S. Supply Chain.”

Three other asset monitoring and inspection projects are aimed at reducing operational costs for offshore wind farms. Recipients include GE Research for “Autonomous Vessel-Based Multi-Sensing System for Inspection and Monitoring”; University of Massachusetts – Lowell  for “A Novel Structural Health Monitoring System for Offshore Wind Turbines”; and Dive Technologies for “Fully Autonomous Subsea Asset Inspection by a Shore-Launched Autonomous Underwater Vehicle.”

Sam Russo, COO of Dive Technologies, said the federal funding will allow Dive to deploy robotic systems to demonstrate all-weather, long-endurance and fully autonomous seafloor asset health monitoring.

“This next-generation technology is poised to deliver safer and more cost-efficient seafloor and infrastructure data collection, advancing the nation’s offshore wind goals,” he said.

Once contracted, the six new projects bring the NOWRDC’s total funding portfolio to $31 million for 46 projects. The first two RFPs have resulted in 40 projects receiving $28 million from the Consortium.

In 2020, NOWRDC awarded $10.3 million to 12 projects through a competitive process. The projects included:

  • Demonstration of Shallow-Water Mooring Components for FOWTs (ShallowFloat) – Principal Power, Inc.
  • Design and Certification of Taut-synthetic Moorings for Floating Wind Turbines – University of Maine
  • Dual-Functional Tuned Inerter Damper for Enhanced Semi-Sub Offshore Wind Turbine – Virginia Tech University
  • Innovative Anchoring System for Floating Offshore Wind – Triton Systems, Inc
  • Techno-Economic Mooring Configuration and Design for Floating Offshore Wind – University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Development of Advanced Methods for Evaluating Grid Stability Impacts – National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Development of a Metocean Reference Site near the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Wind Energy Areas – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
  • Enabling Condition Based Maintenance for Offshore Wind – General Electric
  • Physics Based Digital Twins for Optimal Asset Management – Tufts University
  • Radar Based Wake Optimization of Offshore Wind Farms – General Electric
  • Survival Modeling for Offshore Wind Prognostics – Tagup, Inc.
  • 20GW by 2035: Supply Chain Roadmap for Offshore Wind in the US – National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) established NOWRDC in 2018 to address research priorities for offshore wind. It supports a goal to deploy 30 GW of U.S. offshore wind by 2030.

The full list of NOWRDC’s portfolio of projects is listed here.