The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that three offshore wind energy projects will receive funding up to $47m each over the next four years.

The offshore projects, located off the coast of New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia, will help speed the deployment of more efficient offshore wind power technologies.

Funding was awarded to the three selected projects being developed by Fishermen’s Energy, Dominion Virginia Power and Principle Power.

Fishermen’s Energy has proposed five 5MW direct-drive wind turbines around three miles off the coast of Atlantic City in New Jersey. This farm will use a US-developed twisted jacket foundation that is simpler and less expensive to manufacture and install than traditional offshore foundations.

Principle Power will deploy five 6MW wind turbines approximately 18 miles off Coos Bay, Oregon, at depths of more than 1,000ft. The project will feature the Windfloat semi-submersible foundation technology.

Dominion Virginia Power will set up two 6MW wind turbines 26 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. This project will demonstrate installation, operation and maintenance methods for wind turbines located far from shore.

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It also will incorporate the US-developed twisted-jacket foundation, along with a hurricane-resilient design.

"This farm will use a US-developed twisted jacket foundation that is simpler and less expensive to manufacture and install."

Commercial operations of three wind farms are expected to start in 2017.

Additionally, the DOE said that proposals from the University of Maine and the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation offered additional innovative approaches that will enhance the properties of US offshore wind technology options. The proposals include concrete semi-submersible foundations as well as monopile foundations designed to reduce ice loading.

The DOE Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said, "Offshore wind offers a large, untapped energy resource for the US that can create thousands of manufacturing, construction and supply chain jobs across the country and drive billions of dollars in local economic investment.

"The Energy Department is working with public and private partners to harness this untapped resource in a sustainable and economic manner. The offshore wind projects announced today further this commitment — bringing more clean, renewable energy to our homes and businesses, diversifying our energy portfolio, and reducing costs through innovation."

Image: DOE gives funding for three US offshore wind energy projects. Photo: courtesy of xedos4 /