H.R 3609 would authorize appropriations totaling $574 million over the 2020-2024 period for the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct research and development on wind energy technologies. Under the bill, those activities would focus on various aspects of such systems, including their design, materials, and performance as well as their technical and economic feasibility in different geographic locations. The bill also would direct DOE to establish an offshore wind research facility, and would allow the department to use grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to implement the programs.
Based on historical spending patterns for similar activities, and assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3609 would cost $370 million over the 2019-2024 period and $204 million after 2024. That estimate includes $1 million for costs that would be incurred by the Department of the Interior (DOI) to review and approve leases for any offshore wind research facilities located in the federal Outer Continental Shelf. CBO estimates that DOI would not begin incurring costs for reviewing a lease application until 2021 because of the time needed to resolve the technical and legal issues associated with developing offshore test facilities.
The costs of the legislation (detailed in Table 1) fall within budget functions 270 (energy) and 300 (natural resources and the environment).