US Deploys World’s First Floating Wind Turbine

America’s first grid-connected floating wind turbine has been successfully deployed off the coast of Maine as part of a project to tap the USA’s vast offshore wind energy reserves.
The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Centre used a $12 million Department of Energy (DOE) grant to engineer and build the VolturnUS 1:8, a 65-foot scalable prototype wind tower. The VolturnUS 1:8 will collect data to help improve floating wind turbine design and lower the cost of offshore wind to the point it can provide unsubsidised electricity to consumers. 
According to the University, Maine has 156 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity potential and the State plans to have five gigawatts connected to the electric grid by 2030. It is estimated the five-gigawatt plan could create thousands of clean energy jobs and attract up to $20 billion in investments for Maine.
“Developing America’s vast renewable energy resources is an important part of the Energy Department’s all-of-the-above strategy to pave the way to a cleaner and more diverse domestic energy portfolio,” said Jose Zayas, director of the Energy Department’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office.
But with the majority of offshore wind resources situated in deep coastal waters where conventional turbine technology is impractical, the University created the public/private DeepCWind Consortium, which spent five years developing the VolturnUS 1:8 floating wind turbine.
The 65-foot structure is a prototype scale model, 1:8th the size of a six-megawatt 423-foot rotor diameter floating wind turbine. Its world-first design features a semi-submersible concrete platform and a lightweight tower built from composite materials. 
The project will provide invaluable data on the feasibility of grid-connected floating turbines and will serve as a test case for the deployment of a 12-megawatt full-scale floating turbine wind farm featuring UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Centre’s patent-pending technology.
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