DOE announced on May 12 that it plans to provide Massachusetts with $25 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate the development of the state's Wind Technology Testing Center. Conveniently located in Boston Harbor, the new center will be the first commercial facility in the nation for large wind turbine blades. It will allow for the testing of blades longer than 50 meters to help reduce cost, improve technical advancements, and speed deployment of the next generation of wind turbines. DOE selected Massachusetts for the facility in June 2007, pledging $2 million to support the project. The Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust also committed $13.2 million in grants and loans to develop the facility, and the state is now concluding the final design for the testing center. With the injection of Recovery Act funds, construction can begin in September and will be complete by the end of next year, creating hundreds of new jobs in the area. See the DOE press release.
DOE also announced on May 6 that it will invest up to $8.5 million in 53 new wind energy projects in 24 states, plus the District of Columbia. Funded with fiscal year 2009 appropriations, the projects will support the goals outlined in DOE's 20% Wind Energy by 2030 report, which found that the United States has enough wind resources to generate 20% of the country's electrical needs. The report also identified several challenges to this goal, including the need for investment in a national transmission system; larger electric load balance areas and better regional planning; reduction in wind turbine capital costs; improvement of turbine performance; resolution of siting and environmental issues; and workforce development.
The awards include four topic areas: market acceptance, environmental impact, workforce development, and distributed wind technology. Awards for two other topic areas—supporting wind turbine research and testing and transmission analysis; planning and assessments—will be announced at a later date. The awards went to colleges and universities, organizations, companies, and state governments in Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, as well as Washington, D.C. See the DOE press release for a list of all of the awardees: http://www.energy.gov/news2009/7381.htm