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Letter to The Honorable Steven Chu Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Sens. Tom Carper, Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney (all D-Del.) wrote to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu Tuesday evening urging him to review and support a joint proposal by the University of Delaware (UD) and National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to establish an offshore wind test site off of the Delaware coast. The proposal is in response to the Department of Energy's request for proposals for advanced technology demonstration projects.

The letter highlights the many benefits of supporting the University of Delaware wind project, including Delaware's unique geographical position at the center of the Mid-Atlantic region, where the offshore wind industry believes has the greatest near-term potential for offshore wind development; the long-term investments already made by UD in offshore wind research; and the ability for this 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 Delegation wrote. "For example, the project has a unique advantage of facilitating the testing of not only of wind turbines, but also of other key components such as foundations and transmission lines to shore."

A copy of the letter follows:

August 21, 2012

The Honorable Steven Chu
Secretary
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585

Dear Secretary Chu:

We write in support of a joint University of Delaware (UD) and National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) proposal to the Department of Energy's request for proposals titled "US Offshore Wind: Advanced Technology Demonstration Projects." The project application submitted would establish an offshore wind test site off of the Delaware coast that will provide crucial research for the offshore wind industry.

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. For example, the project has a unique advantage of facilitating the testing of not only of wind turbines, but also of other key components such as foundations and transmission lines to shore. The project also will enable the testing of wind power technologies that, while high risk, carry high potential rewards that might otherwise be left on drawing tables.

Here are some additional benefits and comparative advantages of the UD/NREL offshore wind test site:

Favors no-one technology and provides performance data into the public domain;
Provides a large return on the taxpayers' investment over five years with targets for self-sufficiency by 2017;
Leads to national and regional advances in the knowledge base of this nascent industry for the benefit of broad stakeholder groups, including, citizens of Delaware, Mid-Atlantic and other US coastal communities, regulators, and private industry;
Builds off of the knowledge accumulated through years of federally funded research projects at UD and its many partners;
Reduces costs of offshore wind energy as it incubates proven and future technologies; and
Provides economic development and job creation as it supports supply chain and advances manufacturing concepts.
The proposed project complements substantial federal investments in a drivetrain test facility in South Carolina and a large blade test facility in Massachusetts. It also complements the long-term investments already made by UD in the offshore wind research field, resulting in numerous peer review publications being used by the industry, federal, state and local governments. Finally, the project is strategically located, central to the Department of Interior's designated offshore wind power development areas, and more generally in the center of the Mid-Atlantic, where it is believed the industry has its greatest near-term potential.

We are joined by several stakeholders in support of this project including the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Delaware's Governor Jack Markell, Siemens, Gamesa, Vestas, the Port of Wilmington and Delmarva Power

This is a project on which we all have been working for a number of years, and we appreciate your consideration of this application.

Sincerely,

Thomas R. Carper
United States Senator

Christopher A. Coons
United States Senator

John C. Carney
United States Representative


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