On May 27, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) identified three projects from its offshore wind portfolio – the Atlantic City Windfarm, developed by Fishermen’s Energy; Lake Erie Energy Development Corp.’s (LEEDCo) Icebreaker project; and the University of Maine’s New England Aqua Ventus I project – as eligible recipients for up to $40 million as part of its efforts to incentivize innovative offshore wind technologies.
Notably, LEEDCo and Aqua Ventus were originally selected as program alternates when the DOE formerly announced funding for offshore wind technologies in May 2014.
According to the DOE notes, the three remaining projects have demonstrated significant progress toward being successfully completed and producing power.
Fishermen’s Energy’s Atlantic City Windfarm. Fishermen’s Energy of New Jersey plans to install six 4 MW Siemens turbines in state waters approximately three miles off the coast of Atlantic City, N.J. Fishermen’s Energy’s Atlantic City Windfarm will demonstrate the use of a twisted jacket foundation that is easier to manufacture and install than traditional foundations, helping drive down the cost of energy produced by the offshore wind system.
In order to ensure the safety of the workers who will service the offshore turbines, Fishermen’s has teamed up with foundation developer Keystone Engineering to demonstrate a new access ladder that is rotated 90 degrees, bringing the maintenance vessel closer to the turbine foundation while allowing the worker to side-step onto the ladder.
During operation, the DOE notes, the Fishermen’s project will act as an at-sea laboratory to further our knowledge about offshore wind, investigate the interactions between turbines, test new control systems, and provide information about potential environmental impacts of offshore wind while reducing the levelized cost of energy from offshore wind.
LEEDCo’s Project Icebreaker. LEEDCo plans to install six 3.45 MW, direct-drive turbines on mono bucket foundations seven miles off the coast of Cleveland in Lake Erie.
The DOE notes the mono bucket foundation was selected through significant engineering analysis and is expected to reduce installation time, costs and environmental impacts compared with traditional foundations that require pile driving. The mono bucket not only is a solution for the Great Lakes, but also has broader national applicability for offshore wind installations off the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.
The DOE notes that LEEDCo has assembled a credible, experienced team to support project development and will also address technical challenges unique to freshwater offshore wind deployments, such as icing.
The University of Maine’s New England Aqua Ventus 1. The University of Maine plans to install a pilot floating offshore wind farm with two 6 MW direct-drive turbines on concrete semi-submersible foundations at a test site off of Monhegan Island, Maine.
Because of its location in deep waters off the coast of Maine, where traditional foundations are not feasible, the University of Maine is developing an innovative floating platform.
The University of Maine has demonstrated a 1:8-scale prototype of its floating VolturnUS foundation, and it has applied the knowledge gained in designing, constructing and deploying the prototype to the engineering efforts of the full-scale design. The university and its partners have made significant progress on the engineering design of the full-scale foundation by focusing on commercial-scale manufacturing of the foundation and reducing costs. These considerations have led to significant reductions in the internal steel requirements and vastly improved manufacturability of the foundation, the DOE notes.
Although the DOE recognized Dominion Virginia Power and Principle Power for their offshore wind contributions, these projects will not be eligible for additional funding under the program going forward.