First U.S. Grid-Connected Offshore Wind Turbine Launched in Maine

June 5, 2013

A wind turbine machine is lowered by a large crane into water.

The nation's first grid-connected, offshore, floating wind turbine prototype was recently launched off the coast of Maine.
Credit: Energy Department

The United States' first grid-connected, offshore, floating wind turbine prototype was launched on May 31 off the coast of Castine, Maine. Led by the University of Maine, this project—supported by a $12 million Energy Department investment over five years—represents the first concrete-composite, floating-platform wind turbine to be deployed in the world.

The University of Maine and its project partners conducted extensive design, engineering, and testing of floating offshore wind turbines, followed by the construction and deployment of its 65-foot-tall VolturnUS prototype. At an eighth of the scale of a commercial installation, this project will collect data to validate and improve floating wind turbine designs, while helping to address technical barriers to greater offshore wind cost reductions.

As part of a separate project, the University of Maine is planning a larger offshore wind demonstration called Aqua Ventus I, one of seven offshore wind design and engineering projects that gained Energy Department support last year. Upon completion of the engineering and design phase, the Department intends to select up to three projects for additional funding in 2014 to support construction and installation. See the Energy Department press release and the University of Maine blog.