New England Aqua Ventus I

Proving Maine-made Clean Energy Technology at Full Scale


Successfully harnessing offshore wind will contribute to the transformation of Maine’s energy sector to renewable sources, and keep our energy dollars in our state.

Maine Aqua Ventus I, GP, LLC, is leading a demonstration project called New England Aqua Ventus I, a 12 MW floating offshore wind pilot project to develop a renewable energy source off Maine’s shores. Project participants include Emera Inc., Cianbro Corporation, the University of Maine, and DCNS.

This demonstration project will deploy two 6 MW turbines on VolturnUS, the floating concrete semi-submersible hull designed by UMaine, south of Monhegan Island, off the coast of Maine. Each floating hull/turbine is held in position in the ocean by three marine mooring lines securely anchored to the seabed, with the electrical generation connected by subsea cable to the Maine power grid on shore.

The floating offshore wind turbine platforms and column segments will be fabricated and assembled at an existing industrial facility adjacent to the Penobscot River in Hampden. Turbine components will be assembled on the hull in Searsport and subsequently towed to the UMaine Deepwater Offshore Wind Test Site at Monhegan Island.

An interconnection alternate current (AC) cable will join the turbines, and then connect to a 34.5 kilovolt (kV) subsea power cable extending from the test site to a proposed onshore transition point. Several routes to the mainland are currently being evaluated.

Once installed, the turbines are expected to produce clean renewable energy for the duration of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

DeepCwind Consortium Research Program

This Project builds on the success of the DeepCwind Consortium Research Program where UMaine researchers deployed a 1:8 geometric scale of a 6 MW VolturnUS floating platform off the coast of Castine, Maine. The hull and turbine were tested for nearly 18 months from deployment in June 2013 to removal in late-November 2014. The hull served like a floating laboratory, with nearly sixty sensors that measured the motions of the hull and the environment around it. This allowed the University of the Maine to verify its numerical models of hull motions and stresses and validates its design assumptions, making the project a great success. This was the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in the Americas and the first in the world to use a concrete hull and an advanced composites materials tower.

DeepCwind was spearheaded by the UMaine Composites Center and its industry partners, and funded by the DOE, the National Science Foundation (NSF) – Partnerships for Innovation Program, and the Maine Technology Institute, among others.

What comes after New England Aqua Ventus I?

NEAV I is designed to meet the objectives of the Ocean Energy Act and Maine legislation to yield tangible economic benefits for Maine, and to lead to even larger-scale, more cost-effective offshore wind developments in Maine and markets worldwide. Successful demonstration of the technology has the potential to lead to a 500 MW-scale project placed in U.S. federal waters. MAV is committed to not developing a larger scale project within 10 miles of an inhabited island or peninsula along the coast of Maine.

Project Timeline

Maine Aqua Ventus has received $10.7 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, and is eligible for additional federal funding after meeting project milestones, subject to progress reviews. The New England Aqua Ventus I demonstration project will likely be the first full-scale floating wind project in the Americas. The table below provides an overview of the current project schedule:

Item Deadline Item Name
2016-2017 Complete 100% Project design as well as associated construction, operation, and maintenance grid interconnection and financial plans.
February 2017 U.S. DOE NEPA Public Scoping Sessions
Spring 2017 Conduct additional ecological studies, secure all appropriate permits
Spring 2018 Start VolturnUS platform fabrication
Spring 2019 Install onsite anchors, lay cable
Fall 2019 Install floating hull/turbines at test site

UMaine Deepwater Offshore Wind Test Site

The UMaine Deepwater Offshore Wind Test Site is located nearly 3 miles south west of Monhegan Island, ME, more than 12 miles from the coast of Maine.

The test site south of Monhegan Island was selected following an extensive public outreach process conducted by the State of Maine due to its distance from the mainland, strong and consistent winds, limited number of fishermen, and close proximity to an island with high energy costs. More than five years of ecological and environmental surveys have been conducted, making the test site one of the most extensively studied locations in the Gulf of Maine. Any future commercial-scale projects involving UMaine’s VolturnUS technology will be sited at least 10 miles from any island, peninsula, or mainland.

Click here to learn more about the UMaine Deepwater Offshore Wind Test Site at Monhegan Island.

5+ Years of Baseline Ecological Data Established

The University of Maine, the State of Maine, and U.S. Department of Energy have funded multiple studies/surveys to characterize the baseline physical and ecological environment of the test site. The University of Maine closely monitored bird and bat activity at the test site from 2010 to 2014. Completed studies include partnering with the New Jersey Audubon Society to use radar to track birds and bats, vessel-based visual surveys conducted by Lubird Environmental, acoustic bat surveys conducted by Stantec, and a passive acoustic survey for songbirds at Lobster Cove, Monhegan Island, conducted by the University of Maine. 

Click here to learn more about completed studies at the test site.