Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Chris Coons, D-Del., and Rep. John Carney, D-Del., have written to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu, urging him to review and support a joint proposal by the University of Delaware (UD) and the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to establish an offshore wind test site off of the Delaware coast.
The proposal is in response to the DOE's request for proposals for advanced technology demonstration projects.
The letter highlights the potential benefits of the UD wind project, including Delaware's unique geographical position at the center of the Mid-Atlantic region, the long-term investments already made by UD in offshore wind research, and the ability for the project to complement other federal investments in drivetrain and large blade testing facilities in other regions on the Atlantic coast.
The project is also supported by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Siemens, Gamesa, Vestas, the Port of Wilmington and Delmarva Power.
"As a result of its design, we expect the UD/NREL offshore wind test site will advance the knowledge base of not only innovative offshore wind technology, but also serve to lower non-market barriers - such as social and environmental barriers - that have proven substantial for the offshore wind industry," the Delaware congressional delegation members wrote.
"For example, the project has a unique advantage of facilitating the testing not only of wind turbines, but also of other key components, such as foundations and transmission lines to shore," they added.
Carper, in particular, has been a big supporter of offshore wind development in Delaware. In fact, last year, he co-introduced a bipartisan bill with Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, that would have provided an investment tax credit for the first 3 GW of offshore wind facilities. The legislation, called the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act, was co-sponsored by Coons, among others.