Tax credits and incentives, and the need for cleaner energy, have led to a wind power boom in the United States, but so far the industry has focused on onshore wind power. That all changed last week when North America’s first ever offshore wind turbine, the VolturnUS, is being installed off the coast of Monhegan Island in Brewer, Maine.
The turbine is being towed to a site further into the Atlantic, where an undersea cable will plug it into the electrical grid. It will turn on for the first time on Tuesday, June 4, marking its spot in history as the continent’s first turbine of its kind.
The 65-foot turbine is just a prototype, and will only provide about 20 kilowatts of electricity; that’s enough to give electricity to about four homes. However, it will be collecting data throughout 2013 for a $96 million offshore wind project that will be built in 2016 and power about 6,000 homes.
Of course VolturnUS is incredibly small compared to many of the offshore projects being deployed around the world, especially in Europe (See Europe Installed One Offshore Wind Turbine A Day in 2012), but it’s a small victory and a good start for projects that will help the U.S. build scale in the all important clean energy game.
Image: University of Maine