The University of Maine's (UMaine) Advanced Structures and Composites Center and the DeepCwind Consortium have released the Maine Offshore Wind Report.
Funded by more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and compiled by UMaine and the James W. Sewall Co., the report examines economics and policy, electrical grid integration, and wind, wave, soil and environmental research. It also includes summaries of assembly and construction sites, critical issues for project development and permitting.
The report consists of the compilation and preliminary analysis of relevant data on the Gulf of Maine (GoM) to provide information for parties seeking to respond to a request for proposals (RFP) that was released in September 2010 by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
The RFP calls for bidders to propose the sale of renewable energy produced by a deepwater offshore wind energy pilot project that employs one or more floating turbines in the GoM at a location 300 feet or greater in depth no less than 10 nautical miles from any land area. The RFP also includes a tidal energy demonstration project.
According to the report, the PUC may authorize one or more long-term contracts for an aggregate total of no more than 30 MW of installed capacity and associated renewable energy and renewable energy credits from deepwater offshore wind energy pilot projects or tidal energy demonstration projects, given that no more than 5 MW of the total is supplied by tidal energy demonstration projects. Initial responses are due May 1.
With funding from the DOE, UMaine has undertaken a multi-year program focused on the development and testing of floating offshore wind energy platforms. As part of this program, UMaine has led an evaluation of more than 14 different platform technologies submitted by designers from around the world. Beginning this year, the first of these platform concepts will be designed at an intermediate (approximately one-third) scale to carry a 100 kW turbine.
This first intermediate-scale platform is expected to be fabricated and deployed into UMaine's Deepwater Wind Test Site off Monhegan Island in July 2012 for a period of approximately three to four months. Performance data will be gathered during this deployment and will be used to refine the design for potential full-scale development.
UMaine is currently developing plans to build and deploy additional intermediate-scale platforms in 2013 and 2014 to evaluate multiple platform technologies, validate numerical models and study the interaction of the platforms with the environment.