New England Aqua Ventu is a 12-MW floating offshore wind pilot project initiated by the University of Maine to develop a clean, renewable energy source off Maine’s shores. On May 27, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced that this project was one of three eligible projects to receive up to $39.9 million each in funding, in additional funding over three years for the construction phase of the Offshore Wind Advanced Technology Demonstration Program. With this selection, Maine’s Aqua Ventus project is now on the front line of the offshore wind industry in the United States.
New England Aqua Ventus project partners include University of Maine and UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center, Emera, Cianbro and DCNS. Together, the consortium has formed a collaborative leadership team to develop, construct and operate the project which plans to install two 6-MW floating wind turbines in the Monhegan Island Test Site in Maine state waters.
The floating wind turbine hull design of the Aqua Ventus project has already been tested at a 1:8 scale prototype called VolturnUS in Castine, Maine. The hull and turbine were tested for almost 19 months from deployment in June 2013, to removal in late November 2014. This was the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in the Americas to send electricity into the power grid.
Since then, the University and its partners have made significant progress on the engineering design of the full-scale foundation, by focusing on commercial scale, manufacturing of the foundation and reducing costs.
Today’s announcement is a “game changer for floating offshore wind in the U.S.” said Dr. Habib Dagher, P.E., executive director of the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center that has led the effort.
“We are very proud to be part of the winning consortium and we look forward to bringing DCNS expertise to this outstanding project”, said Frédéric Le Lidec, Marine Renewable Energy Director at DCNS.
“Floating offshore wind has potential be an innovative renewable energy solution that generates local economic development opportunities,” said Paul Laberge, project lead at Emera Inc. “The project has a breadth of leadership, capable of developing an idea from concept to installation and operation.”