Mar 31, 2012

DeepCwind Consortium poised to deploy America's first floating offshore windturbine

There are now two separate offshore windpower proposals off Maine: the DeepCwind Consortium led by the University of Maine, and Hywind-Maine, a project of Norwegian energy giant Statoil. 

Beginning this spring, the island's artifice-free natural scenery off its southern rim at Lobster Cove will be joined for about 5 months a year by an experimental deepwater wind power test center where the 1/3 size prototypes will be tested.

DeepCwind's engineering teams are poised to set out up to three prototype floating windturbines in waters two miles south of America's oldest art colony, the famed painters' isle Monhegan, off Maine's Midcoast. 

The first deployment is not expected to yield any electricity to consumers on Monhegan or elsewhere; its purpose is to test the structural and functional integrity of the floating ocean wind turbines, which is composed of thousands of parts, all of which must work under the stresses and rigors of the Gulf of Maine.

DeepCwind was joined earlier this winter by Norwegian energy giant Statoil, which has declared interest in setting out its own prototype floating deepwater turbine in waters 12 miles northeast of Portland.  

DeepCwind is apparently seeking a site at least 20 miles offshore for deployment of its full sized windturbines.  DeepCwind leader Habib Dagher holds that such distant deployment will markedly reduce the turbines' scenic impact - a concern raised by the state's profitable coastal tourism industry coastal resorts. 

Dagher has also noted that turbines-to-shore cable technology has improved to such an extent that the greater distance from shore will not result in a significant loss of power delivery.  Stay tuned.

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