On Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 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 designed to accelerate the market readiness of U.S. floating offshore wind energy technologies.

By helping to develop a domestic supply chain and accelerate market readiness of U.S. floating offshore wind energy designs, FLOWIN Prize competitors will bring the U.S. closer to the goals of a decarbonized electricity grid by 2035 and a net zero economy by 2050, according to the DOE.

About two-thirds of U.S. offshore wind resources is in water over 60 meters deep. Floating platforms are needed because at these depths, today’s fixed-bottom platforms are impractical and costly. Although no domestic commercial-scale floating offshore wind power projects have been constructed yet, preparing mass-manufacturing capabilities and infrastructure needed for deployment will drive U.S. leadership in the global industry and help reduce costs, DOE said.

Specifically, the FLOWIN Prize will:

  • Encourage collaboration among different types of companies needed to manufacture and deploy floating offshore wind energy technologies
  • Help teams optimize platform designs to enable easier production within U.S. infrastructure capabilities and constraints
  • Support the development of robust plans to move toward widescale floating offshore wind energy deployment
  • Better prepare U.S. manufacturing, ports, and vessel infrastructure for the burgeoning floating offshore wind energy market.

Prize Details

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.

To further the principles of inclusion and environmental justice embodied in the Biden administration’s Justice40 Initiative, 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.