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UMaine flips switch on VolturnUS

UMaine flips switch on VolturnUS image

Electrons are flowing from the VolturnUS 1:8 offshore wind turbine prototype anchored along the coast of Maine in a first for North America.

A University of Maine-led consortium today interconnected the unit via a subsea cable to a Central Maine Power distribution line on shore, making it the first grid-linked offshore turbine in the continent.

“Today will constitute a historic moment for offshore wind in the Americas,” Habib Dagher said earlier today. Dagher is director of UMaine’s Advanced Structure and Composites Center and leader of the DeepCwind consortium.

DeepCWind last week towed the floating turbine about 30 miles and anchored it in 80 feet of water some 300 feet offshore the town of Castine. The VolturnUS demonstrator has a semi-submersible concrete foundation and is one-eighth the scale of a 6MW 423-foot rotor diameter design. It carries a 20kW Renewegy turbine.

Iberdrola-owned utility CMP is buying the output. The turbine will remain at the Castine site over the summer as researchers test operations in wind and wave conditions that match the scaled-down turbine, as reported in reNews.

VolturnUS later will be towed to an open-ocean location about 2.5 miles off of Monhegan Island for additional testing. The site is about 12 miles from the mainland with depths up to 400 feet.

The research project is the first phase in the 12MW $96m New England Aqua Ventus 1 pilot project, slated for deployment off Monhegan Island in 2016.

UMaine’s partners include Maine construction company Cianbro, Iberdrola, the US Energy Department and more than 30 public and industry partners.

Plugged-in: First US grid-linked offshore turbine sends power to the grid (UMaine)

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