The first grid-connected offshore turbine in North America, VolturnUS, is a sign of good industry taking hold in the Americas. In Maine, near Monhegan Island, a test of an offshore wind turbine will be launched tomorrow as a small beginning of a full-scale wind project. This has been long overdue, but it’s still a happy note worth celebrating.
The University of Maine’s 65-foot wind turbine will be used as a test for a full-scale offshore wind project near Monhegan Island. The prototype was built on a 1:8 scale. It was built by the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.
Composites Center Director Habib Dagher is confident this is just the beginning. “Offshore wind is our largest untapped renewable resource in the state of Maine,” Dagher said. “We have 156 gigawatts of offshore wind within 50 miles of our coast. That’s the equivalent of 156 nuclear power plants worth of wind blowing off the coast of Maine.”
The University of Maine writes:
The VolturnUS technology is the culmination of over five years of collaborative R&D conducted by the University of Maine-led DeepCwind Consortium. The DeepCwind Consortium Research Program is a unique public-private partnership funded by the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation-Partnerships for Innovation, the Maine Technology Institute, the State of Maine, the University of Maine, and over 30 industrial partners. Data acquired during the 2013 deployments off Castine, Maine, will be used to optimize the design of UMaine’s patent-pending VolturnUS floating wind turbine system. The program goal is to reduce the cost of offshore wind to 10 cents/kWh by 2020, in order to compete with other forms of electricity generation without subsidies. This launch celebrates an important milestone in the development of a cost-effective, job-creating, innovative U.S. offshore wind technology.
And here’s a bit more information from a separate University of Maine press release:
The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center has been awarded the first phase of a potential $93.2 million deepwater offshore wind demonstration project by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The UMaine Composites Center-led team of industry leaders and national laboratories is one of five awardees selected from over 70 competing proposals.
In this initial phase, each project will receive up to $4 million to complete the engineering, design and permitting phase of this award. In a year, DOE will select up to three of these projects for follow-on phases that focus on siting, construction and installation, and aim to achieve commercial operation by 2017. These projects will receive up to $47 million each over four years, subject to Congressional appropriations.
The Gulf of Maine has 156.6 GW of offshore wind potential, the majority of which is in deepwater. Maine has a plan to build a 5,000 MW network of floating farms by 2030, which would attract $20 billion of private capital to our state, and create thousands of jobs.
The specific launch location and time for anyone in the area are (be sure to RSVP):
517 South Main Street
May 31, 2013
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