UMaine Offshore Wind Program Cited In Real Clear Politics

The UMaine Offshore Wind Program was cited by Real Clear Politics’ John Connor Cleveland in his article titled, “Offshore Wind Power’s Promising But Complicated Future.”

About 1,000 feet off the coast of Castine, Maine, floats an angular yellow structure, stark against the blue of the harbor. No, it’s not a buoy, although one might mistake it for such. It’s America’s first operational offshore wind turbine and, perhaps, a key milestone in the development of offshore wind power in the United States.

A fixture off the Maine coast since its deployment in May 2013, VolturnUS is a one-eighth scale prototype floating wind turbine — or, a miniature version of the 300-foot tall turbines that ultimately may populate some of America’s windier coastal regions.

Developed by a consortium of researchers under the name DeepCWind, the VolturnUS is the only operational offshore turbine in the United States, and the only floating turbine in the world. In June 2013, VolturnUS was linked to an onshore power grid, successfully harnessing enough offshore wind energy to power homes on the mainland.

To its creators, VolturnUS is the near-perfect child of necessity and ingenuity. Meet Habib Dagher of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, which spearheaded the project’s design. He is deadpan, but decidedly enthusiastic.

“We’ve had excellent results with the program,” he said. “The unit is essentially a floating laboratory — there are 60 sensors on it that measure the motion of the unit, stresses in the unit. We compared the data to our predictive models and it turned out very accurate.”

Read the full article, here.