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.