WASHINGTON — Seattle’s Principle Power will receive up to $47 million in federal grants for its proposed floating wind farm in Coos Bay, Ore., pushing it closer to generating the nation’s first utility-scale electricity from West Coast winds.
The U.S. Department of Energy on Wednesday named Principle as one of three offshore wind projects chosen to receive up to $47 million apiece over four years. The other winners, chosen from seven competitors, are the Fishermen’s Energy project off the coast of Atlantic City, N.J., and Dominion Virginia Power off the coast of Virginia Beach.
Principle’s WindFloat project would use novel, triangular floating platforms to anchor turbines in the deep waters off the West Coast. The $200 million, 30-megawatt wind farm would use five turbines located about 17 miles off shore. It is scheduled to begin producing power in 2017.
Traditional single-pile foundations driven into the ocean floor are difficult to install economically in deep waters.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said offshore winds hold vast sources of potential energy that could be tapped to create jobs and to diversify the nation’s energy portfolio.
Gov. Jay Inslee, for whom developing renewable energy is a personal passion as well as a legislative priority, said Principle’s federal grants could help the Pacific Northwest take the lead on a pioneering technology.
This project “can represent a world-leading advancement in wind energy-demonstrating technologies and methodologies that not only open huge new areas to the prospect of renewable energy development but also bring jobs and opportunity,” Inslee said in a statement.