The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the issuance of a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for up to $6 million over fiscal years 2009-2010, subject to annual appropriations, to address wind development technical challenges and market acceptance barriers as outlined in the "20% Wind Energy by 2030" report. The announcement will address six topic areas: (1) turbine research, development, and testing; (2) distributed wind technologies; (3) market acceptance efforts; (4) environmental research and siting strategies; (5) transmission analysis, planning and assessments; and (6) workforce development.

In May 2008, DOE issued the "20% Wind Energy by 2030" report. The report found that the nation possesses affordable wind energy resources far in excess of those needed to enable a 20% scenario. However, major challenges need to be overcome and require action for this to be possible:

  • Major investments in transmission so the power generated in Midwest locations can be delivered to distant urban centers

  • Larger electric load balancing areas, in tandem with better regional planning and use of complementary generation and storage, so that grid operators can better integrate wind generation into the electric utility grid

  • Continued reduction in wind turbine capital costs through technology advancement and improved manufacturing capabilities

  • Improved wind turbine performance and reduction of operating and maintenance costs through improved reliability

  • Addressing concerns about local siting, wildlife, and environmental issues within the context of electricity generation

  • Develop an abundant and skilled workforce to supply the growing renewable energy industry.

Completed FOA applications are due by March 3. The complete FOA can be viewed on the Web site. DOE anticipates notifying applicants selected for award by the end of April 2009 and making awards by the end of September 2009. Funding is subject to annual Congressional appropriations.