University of Maine Engineers are testing out the country’s very first floating wind turbine, a process that will help utilize the massive energy resource that exists right off the coast.
“We have the equivalent of 150 nuclear power plants worth of wind blowing off the coast of Maine,” said Habib Dagher, Director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. “It only takes two nuclear power plants to power the whole state, that’s how big that resource is.”
The program has grown to include more than 50 students and several faculty members, all eager to test new ideas and designs for utilizing this incredible power source. The first ever floating turbine in the U.S. will be released this summer, and will be eight times the size of the test turbine, with blades as tall as the Washington Monument. They will be placed 20 miles or more offshore so will not be seen or heard while in operation.
The goal is to have more than 80 turbines floating in a commercial scale wind park by 2030. It’s almost incomprehensible to think about turbines of that size floating in the ocean, powering an entire state. I’m curious to see how this pans out, and what other kind of projects and ideas the students have in store.
Image: Wikimedia Commons. The world’s second full-scale floating wind turbine (and first to be installed without the use of heavy-lift vessels), WindFloat, operating at rated capacity (2MW) approximately 5km offshore of Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal.