The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, a new federally funded public-private research entity for the U.S. offshore wind sector, has awarded its first contract to the U.S. Energy Dept.’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to improve the economic feasibility of floating wind farm technology.

The $300,000 award will allow NREL to assess the potential of shared mooring lines to cut floating wind farm costs by connecting adjacent turbine platforms and distributing load, resulting in fewer anchors.

Study results will be key “to further commercialization of offshore floating wind in the U.S.,” said Senu Sirnivas, a principal NREL engineer.

About 58% of the total U.S. offshore wind resource is located in water deeper than 60 meters, where floating offshore wind technology will be used. Consortium members include four state energy agencies and leading offshore wind project developers.