U.S. Department of Energy launches floating wind $6.85m competition

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the FLoating Offshore Wind ReadINess (FLOWIN) Prize. Part of DOE’s American-Made Challenges series, this three-phase, $6.85 million investment is designed to pave the way for cost-effective domestic manufacturing and deployment of commercial-scale floating offshore wind energy technologies in U.S. waters.

The FLOWIN Prize is expected to encourage collaboration among different types of companies needed to manufacture and deploy floating offshore wind energy technologies and help teams optimize platform designs to enable easier production within U.S. infrastructure capabilities and constraints

It is also aimed to support the development of plans to move toward widescale floating offshore wind energy deployment whilst better preparing U.S. manufacturing, ports, and vessel infrastructure for the floating offshore wind energy market.

Eligible FLOWIN Prize teams must have an existing floating offshore wind substructure design and include members with expertise in wind energy technology and others specializing in expanding supply chains and infrastructure. 

In the first phase, teams will focus on confirming they have a design ready to move toward mass manufacturing and that they understand the steps and partnerships needed to achieve full-scale product commercialization. In phases two and three, teams will refine their design and develop a roadmap toward mass manufacturing and deployment, first focusing broadly and then on a specific example U.S. region.

Competitors must also indicate how their manufacturing and supply chain development plans can benefit disadvantaged and underserved communities.

Phase One is now open for submissions and will close on Jan. 13, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET.

The FLOWIN total prize pool is $5.75 million, plus up to $1.1 million in vouchers for technical support from DOE national laboratories. There will be multiple winners in each of the three phases. Phase One winners will each receive $100,000 in cash and at least $75,000 each in support vouchers.

The FLOWIN Prize is the first prize funded by DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office. It is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in partnership with the Business Network for Offshore Wind.