The first ever floating wind turbine in the United States is now in the process of being tested by engineers from the University of Maine. The new turbine will help to harness the vast wind energy potential located off the coasts of Maine. The director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center Habib Dagher said, “We have the equivalent of 150 nuclear power plants worth of wind blowing off the coast of Maine. It only takes two nuclear power plants to power the whole state, that’s how big that resource is.”
“We’re making history here and it’s all been started out by a few of us here and it’s grown to include over 50 students and numerous faculty,” said Anthony Viselli, a UMaine engineer working on the turbine system.
The first turbine will be released during this coming summer, but is mostly going to serve as a further test. The turbines which will end up being used commercially will be around eight times larger than the test turbine. The blades will be about as tall as the Washington Monument. Their massive size is integral to their planned use installed over 20 miles off shore, which is beyond the ground level horizon line.
“You will not be able to see them, you will not be able to hear them, so nobody will know they’re there essentially, but they’re out there creating clean, renewable energy to power our state,” said Dagher.
The current goal is for a commercial-scale wind power park of more than 80 turbines to be installed by 2030.
Graduate student Racheal Joyce said, “There’s a lot of work that’s ahead, but it’s exciting work and I think the progress that we’ve seen so far is really what’s keeping us going and excited for the next step and the next step.”