The University of Maine's (UMaine) Advanced Structures and Composites Center notes that its small-scale, floating offshore wind turbine prototype off the coast of Maine has survived harsh winter storms and weather. According to an Associated Press report, the center is now confident that full-scale versions of the technology will fare well if and when they are deployed.
The UMaine-led DeepCWind Consortium flipped the switch on the 65-foot-tall VolturnUS 1:8 turbine in June 2013, making it the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in North America. The program serves as a stepping stone for UMaine and partners to build and deploy two 6 MW floating turbines for the 12 MW Maine Aqua Ventus pilot project. The Maine Public Utilities Commission recently signed off on Maine Aqua Ventus' term sheet, which lays out the provisions of a potential long-term power purchase agreement.
According to the AP report, the Composites Center's Habib Dagher said the 1:8 prototype's ability to withstand big waves and high winds illustrates the viability of the larger-scale turbines.
‘We feel very confident now that we have something we can build that will survive a 100-year storm in the state of Maine," said Dagher. "So am I worried about the 'perfect storm' coming in and wiping out offshore wind farms? No, I'm not. I think we're in good shape."