In a bid to diversify the nation's energy production resources, the U.S. Department of Energy is investing in a series of offshore wind power initiatives. The federal program is structured as a public-private partnership, awarding subsidy contracts to companies that submit cost-effective and promising design proposals.
According to an official press release from the Obama administration, projects in Maine, New Jersey, Virginia, Ohio, Texas and Oregon received government start-up funds to help move them from the drawing board to the construction site. While some projects are more shovel-ready than others, the DoE expects these efforts to enter the commercial-scale production phase sometime in late 2016 or early 2017.
In its release, the government agency stressed that untapped coastal resources could bring billions of dollars in both power savings and economic benefits per year, thanks to the estimated 4,000 gigawatts of potential clean energy.
"The United States has tremendous untapped clean energy resources, and it is important for us to develop technologies that will allow us to utilize those resources in ways that are economically viable," Steven Chu, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, was quoted as saying. "Today's announcement of awards to the first offshore wind projects in the U.S. paves the way to a cleaner, more sustainable and more diverse domestic energy portfolio that develops every source of American energy."
There are some troubling signs for the Obama administration's green tech drive, including the upcoming expiration of the Production Tax Credit, which helps manufacturers of clean technology to cut costs and increase output. However, eco-friendly advocates are pushing for legislation that would renew these incentives and continue to drive investment in these emerging technologies.
In the coming years, keep an eye out on U.S. coastal areas. With continued investment and a little bit of luck, you might see a revolution in America's energy sector getting started.