US Moves Forward on Offshore Wind, Advanced Batteries

In a watershed event, the US announced it would open the first competitive offshore wind lease sales in federal waters next year.

The areas being leased by the Department of Interior can support over 4 gigawatts of offshore wind – powering about 1.4 million homes.

It plans to lease 277,550 acres in two previously identified "Wind Energy Areas" under "Smart from the Start" – one off the coast of Virginia and two near Rhode Island.

"Holding competitive lease sales on the wind-rich east coast is ushering in a new chapter in America’s development of renewable energy," says Deputy Secretary Hayes of the Department of Interior. "By working closely with Rhode Island and the other states to identify the best areas for offshore wind farms, winning bidders will have a clear pathway to successfully harness our world-class offshore wind resource."

The Proposed Sale Notices are now published in the Federal Register, with details about the areas available for leasing, proposed lease provisions and conditions, auction details and  lease form, criteria for evaluating competing bids, award procedures, appeal procedures and lease execution.

Two offshore leases have thus far been approved for leases – NRG Bluewater Wind off of Delaware and Cape Wind off Massachusetts. 

DOE Launches Energy Storage Hub

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy storage hub, announced earlier this year, will be located in Chicago at its Argonne National Lab.

This fifth Energy Innovation Hub is getting $120 million to achieve "revolutionary advances" in battery performance for energy storage. The goal is to reduce the time it takes for breakthrough technologies to get from lab to market.

The "Joint Center for Energy Storage Research" combines the expertise of five DOE national labs, five universities, and four private firms to advance R&D that’s crucial for electric vehicle adoption and for integrating renewable energy into the electric grid.

“This new Hub brings together, under a single organizational roof, the world’s leading scientists, engineers and manufacturers in energy storage and provides them with the tools, resources and market reach necessary to produce major breakthroughs,” says Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).  “The large-scale, innovative research and transformational new battery systems that will result from this venture will mean more effective, lower cost and longer life energy storage technologies with real world applications for anything that can use a rechargeable battery."

The other hubs are: 

  • Fuels from Sunlight Energy Innovation Hub: advanced research to develop fuels directly from sunlight. The Solar Energy Research Center building just broke ground. 
  • Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors: seeks to improve nuclear reactors through sophisticated computer-based modeling and simulation
  • Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy-Efficient Buildings: working to achieve major breakthroughs in energy efficient building design. 
  • Critical Materials Hub: addresses the use of rare earths and other critical materials in clean energy components, products, and processes.

Learn about DOE’s Energy Innovation Hubs:

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