Engineers in the University of Maine are testing the United States’ first floating wind turbine. The purpose of the project is to help make use of the massive potential of wind energy that is available around the Maine coast.
Habib Dagher, the director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center in UMaine stated, “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.”
The very first turbine is scheduled to be installed next summer, though it will only be used for testing. The actual commercial turbine will eventually be about eight times bigger than the turbine for testing purposes. The height of the blades will be about the same as the Washington Monument.
The huge size of the turbines is testament to their purpose, in that they will be installed more than 20 miles off the coast, which is also out of reach of the ground level horizon line.
Dagher added, “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.”
Presently, the aim is to install about 80 wind turbines to be used for commercial purposes by 2030.
Racheal Joyce, a graduate student, 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.”