Offshore wind energy in Maine is the state's largest untapped natural resource.
New England Aqua Ventus I
In April 2016, New England Aqua Ventus I (the Project) entered a national competition with other offshore wind projects for the opportunity to receive $40 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding.
The Project partners include Emera Inc., Cianbro Corporation, the University of Maine and UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, and DCNS. Initially assembled by UMaine, this global consortium has formed a collaborative leadership team to develop, construct and operate this offshore wind project. It is expected that more than 25 other organizations will contribute to Project success.
If the application is approved for funding, much of the Project development costs will flow into salaries and new jobs for Maine families and businesses, purchasing products and services from local businesses, and generating new capabilities and opportunities in the Maine economy.
With potential for Maine to invest in and benefit from the development of a transformative technology, the Project and potential subsequent projects will create Maine jobs, while representing a long-term commitment to reduce fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions, and keep more of our energy dollars at home. The Project represents opportunities to evolve Maine’s cultural and economic relationship with its natural resources.
Monhegan Island Test Site
In 2009, following an extensive public process to identify deepwater offshore wind energy test sites, the State of Maine Department of Conservation assigned a wind energy and development site to UMaine. Located in Maine state waters approximately about 2.7 miles south of Monhegan Island and 10 miles from the mainland, the Monhegan Test Site is endowed with strong wind resources for a demonstration project. For more than five years, UMaine researchers have studied and characterized the site, yielding a rich set of data on metocean, ecological, geophysical, and geotechnical site conditions.
Proximity of the test site to the Monhegan Island Plantation Power District grid brings important potential advantages to the island, such as opportunity to provide significantly less expensive electricity and improved energy security to Monhegan Island residents, who currently pay some of the highest electric rates in the United States.
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.
Clean, renewable energy, now and in the future
The New England Aqua Ventus I project is one of the world’s most cutting-edge opportunities in offshore wind development. More than ten years of advanced research and development work, precision engineering, monitoring and testing, innovative ideas, consultation and environmental study, and unwavering dedication have put Maine’s offshore wind resource potential on the world energy map.