In recent weeks, the Department of Energy ("DOE") and Google have announced new projects that are intended to spur the development of a United States offshore wind industry. DOE first announced a new initiative program, the Offshore Wind Innovation and Demonstration Initiative (OSWInD Initiative), to secure the establishment of an offshore wind industry for the United States. In its draft strategic work plan, "Creating an Offshore Wind Industry in the United States: A Strategic Work Plan for the United States Department of Energy, Fiscal Years 2011-2015" ("Strategic Work Plan"), the DOE sets target goals for 54 gigawatts of deployed offshore wind capacity by 2030 at a cost of 7 to 9 cents per kilowatt hour and an interim target goal of 10 gigawatts at 13 cents per kilowatt hour by 2020. In order to reduce the costs and timing for the deployment of offshore wind projects, the Strategic Work Plan sets forth three Focus Areas, including Technology Development, Market Barrier Removal and Advanced Technology Demonstration Projects. The Strategic Work Plan further identifies seven major activities to be administered within the Focus Areas including innovative turbines, innovative balance of system, computational tools and test data, resource planning, siting and permitting, complementary infrastructure and advanced technology demonstration projects. The DOE has requested comments on the Strategic Work Plan by October 29th, 2010.
On October 6, 2010, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Cape Wind Associates, LLC officially signed our country's first commercial lease for offshore wind energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf ("OCS").
On October 12, 2010, Google announced on its blog that it was going to be investing (along with other investors) in an offshore wind transmission project referred to as the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC). The AWC project would span approximately 350 miles between New Jersey and Virginia and could connect up to 6,000MW of offshore wind turbines for delivery to land based transmission systems and could ultimately serve 1.9 million households.