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UMaine reaches out to Statoil

Proponents discussed sharing transmission for competing 12MW projects

UMaine reaches out to Statoil image

The University of Maine has proposed collaborating with Norwegian energy outfit Statoil on their respective 12MW floating offshore wind pilot projects.

The proponents discussed potentially sharing some aspects of development and construction, including a transmission line and facilities, UMaine VP Innovation and Economic Development Jake Ward told reNews.

The university has worked with Statoil on smaller projects such as pre-feasibility studies, said Ward. However discussions about further cooperation are “inconclusive,” said Ward, since Statoil put its Hywind Maine project on hold when the state reopened bidding for a power purchase agreement, as reported in reNews.

UMaine is working to submit a bid by the 1 September deadline. The university aims to start construction of the two-turbine 12MW Aqua Ventus 1 in 2015. The first turbine is slated to be commissioned in 2016 with the second unit hooked up in 2017.

Lead project developer Habib Dagher said the proponents are trying to get the cost down to $7m per megawatt. “We’re planning to send bids out in the early fall to see if we can get close to that range,” said Dagher.

The proponent is also investigating potential staging areas to assemble the concrete composite foundations and turbines.

“We’re doing an extensive study right now from Eastport, Maine, down to southern Maine looking at different sites and we’ve identified about half a dozen sites that are viable for the 12MW project,” said Dagher.

In the meantime, the UMaine-led consortium has extended testing of its floating offshore wind turbine prototype in Castine Harbor for a year.

The proponent deployed and interconnected the Volturnus 1:8 scale turbine (pictured) in June in 80 feet of water about 1000 feet offshore. Oceanic conditions at the protected near-shore site scale to one-eighth what a full-scale unit would experience in deeper waters further offshore. Researchers had planned to collect data for a couple of months before relocating the prototype to a deep-water location off Monhegan Island about 12 miles from the mainland.

The university has decided to keep the floating turbine at the Castine Harbor site until May 2014, said Ward. “That will allow us to get the widest range of wind and wave conditions to try to get as much data as possible,” said Ward.

The university will then decide whether to tow the prototype to the open-ocean site off Monhegan Island.

(Maine Maritime Academy)

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