The U.S. Commerce Department has awarded a $3 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the University of Maine to help equip the Offshore Wind Energy Laboratory at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center with state-of-the-art wind energy technology.
According to the EDA, the project will establish the U.S.' only facility capable of designing, manufacturing and testing prototype wind blades of up to 70 meters in length.
This EDA investment supports the development and procurement of automated composites manufacturing equipment that will allow the university to design, build and test large offshore wind blades on-site. The project aims to find production efficiencies that will boost manufacturing of wind blades in the U.S.
"Strengthening research and development in support of an innovation economy is vital to creating jobs and maintaining global competitiveness," Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said when announcing the grant. "This EDA grant will provide cutting-edge technologies that will advance wind energy generation and serve as a catalyst for job creation in rural Maine."