First Annual Maine Deepwater Offshore Wind Conference Held October 19th, 2010
The University of Maine’s AEWC Advanced Structures and Composites Center and the DeepCwind Consortium hosted the first annual Maine Deepwater Offshore Wind Conference on October 19th in Northport, Maine.
Session topics included:
• Deepwater offshore wind and economic development
• Responsible siting of deepwater offshore wind turbines
• Environmental/ecological monitoring activities at the University of Maine Deepwater Offshore Wind Test Site
• Deepwater floating wind turbine technology development
The Free Press Online writer Christine Parrish documented the event, explaining in an article from October 21st, 2010, discussions between experts focused on all aspects of offshore wind technology, including “cost and benefit analysis, job creation, wind turbine technology, permitting and siting, environmental monitoring and deployment of wind turbines”.
Dr. Habib Dagher, director of AEWC Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine discussed the offshore wind future in Maine. The first ocean-based wind turbine will be installed off Monhegan in 2012, with additional extensive plans through 2030. The total electricity generated is estimated to equal that of 5 nuclear power plants.
The first offshore wind lab in the country is being built at the University of Maine, where wind blades and other components up to 230 feet long will be able to be designed, manufactured and tested with simulated extreme condition the structures would encounter in the field, including 50-60 foot high waves.
Dagher stressed the importance of the initial deployment of wind turbines, explaining “[they] will provide data on the durability of the materials, the designs, the environmental impact, and other factors that will fine-tune offshore wind development as it moves forward”.
Dagher discussed the overall viability of offshore wind power in the Gulf of Maine as well as DeepCwind and University of Maine’s invitation for offshore wind turbine design proposals. The top three designs will be built at the University of Maine Offshore Wind Lab. According to Dagher, the Gulf of Maine winds are among the strongest in the nation and have the potential to supply 149 gigawatts of power. This estimate isn’t too out of line with the NREL study discussed in the October 20th blog entry.