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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded funds to seven offshore wind projects in Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Virginia.

In the initial phase, each project will receive up to $4 million to complete the engineering, design and permitting phase of this award. The DOE will select up to three of the projects for follow-on phases that focus on siting, construction and installation and aim to achieve commercial operation by 2017. These projects will receive up to $47 million each over four years, subject to Congressional appropriations.

The DOE says the investment will help speed the deployment of stronger, more efficient offshore wind power technologies and showcase innovative technologies. These projects will also help clear hurdles to installing utility-scale turbines in U.S. waters, connecting to the power grid, and navigating new siting and permitting processes.

The seven recipients selected for the first phase of the initiative include the following:

- Baryonyx Corp., based in Austin, Texas, plans to install three 6 MW direct-drive wind turbines in state waters near Port Isabel, Texas. The project will demonstrate an advanced jacket foundation design and integrate lessons learned from the oil and gas sector on hurricane-resistant facility design, installation procedures and personnel safety.

- Fishermen's Atlantic City Windfarm plans to install up to six direct-drive turbines in state waters three miles off the coast of Atlantic City, N.J. The project will result in an advanced bottom-mounted foundation design and innovative installation procedures to mitigate potential environmental impacts. The company expects this project to achieve commercial operation by 2015.

- Lake Erie Development Corp., a regional public-private partnership based in Cleveland, Ohio, plans to install nine 3 MW direct-drive wind turbines on "ice breaker" monopile foundations designed to reduce ice loading. The project will be installed on Lake Erie, seven miles off the coast of Cleveland.

- Seattle, Wash.-based Principle Power plans to install five semi-submersible floating foundations outfitted with 6 MW direct-drive offshore wind turbines. The project will be sited in deep water 10 to 15 miles from Coos Bay, Ore.

- Stamford, Conn.-based Statoil North America plans to deploy four 3 MW wind turbines on floating spar buoy structures in the Gulf of Maine off Boothbay Harbor at a water depth of approximately 460 ft.

- The University of Maine, based in Orono, plans to install a pilot floating offshore wind farm with two 6 MW direct-drive turbines on concrete semi-submersible foundations near Monhegan Island. The DOE says these concrete foundations could result in improvements in commercial-scale production and provide offshore wind projects with a cost-effective alternative to traditional steel foundations.

- Richmond-based Dominion Virginia Power plans to design, develop and install two 6 MW direct-drive turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach on innovative "twisted jacket" foundations that offer the strength of traditional jacket or space-frame structures but use substantially less steel, the DOE explains.




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