U of Maine Unveils Floating VolturnUS Wind Turbine

John Davis

VolturnUSA new floating wind turbine is making its debut. The Bangor (ME) Daily News reports the University of Maine unveiled the VolturnUS, a one-of-a-kind offshore wind turbine:

VolturnUS will be the first grid-connected floating wind turbine in North America and the first concrete-composite floating turbine in the world, according to Habib Dagher, director of the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

“The goal is to be the first to do it and to do it right,” Dagher said Wednesday during an event at the university’s Offshore Wind Laboratory at the composites center.

The 65-foot-tall turbine prototype is a one-eighth-scale version of the huge 6-megawatt turbines that would create a 5-gigawatt farm 20 miles off Maine’s coastline by 2030. About 170 turbines, each taller than the Washington Monument, would create the 5 gigawatts of energy, which is equivalent to the energy output of five nuclear power plants. Officials estimate that project could bring $20 billion of private investment to the state and create thousands of jobs.

Officials say, when complete, the wind farm will be able to produce electricity for about 10 cents per kilowatt hour by 2020. The first full-scale turbine with blades bigger than a 747’s wingspan is scheduled to go into the water in 2016.