UMaine partners with industry heavyweights to develop floating project

In: Windfarms
05/08/2020

The University of Maine (UMaine) will collaborate with New England Aqua Ventus, LLC (NEAV), a joint venture between Diamond Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Corporation, and RWE Renewables, to develop UMaine’s floating offshore wind technology demonstration project off the coast of Maine.

Construction, following all permitting, is expected to be completed in 2023. Diamond Offshore Wind and RWE Renewables will invest $100 million to build the project.

As the developer, NEAV will own and manage all aspects of permitting, construction and assembly, deployment and ongoing operations for the project. UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center will continue with design and engineering, research and development and post-construction monitoring.


The project will consist of a single semisubmersible concrete floating platform that will support a commercial 10-12 MW wind turbine and will be deployed in a state-designated area 2 miles south of Monhegan Island and 14 miles from the Maine coast. The purpose of the demonstration project is to further evaluate floating technology, monitor environmental factors and develop best practices for offshore wind to coexist with traditional marine activities.


Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden issued a joint statement on the partnership announcement: “For generations, Maine has been a national leader when it comes to using our natural resources sustainably to create jobs, protect our environment and power our economy. The University of Maine’s floating deepwater offshore wind project carries on that tradition. We have strongly supported UMaine’s development of the Aqua Ventus project. We are proud to see the project’s progress and applaud the $100 million public-private partnership launched today, which will accelerate UMaine’s development of its innovative technology and create jobs. Maine’s offshore wind resource potential is 36 times greater than the state’s electricity demand, making this project so significant for Maine’s clean energy future.”


An immediate priority for the new development team is to engage with the fishing industry, other maritime users, coastal communities and other interested parties on how to ensure this new renewable energy source can optimally provide economic growth to Maine and work with maritime industries.


Since 2008 the University of Maine has researched floating offshore wind technology. After winning funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the university worked with Maine-based construction firm Cianbro to build and deploy the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in the U.S. in 2013, a one-eighth scale prototype of its VolturnUS floating hull technology. The success of the project led to additional funding from the DOE to further advance the VolturnUS technology, which has been issued 43 patents to date. UMaine will continue to own its VolturnUS floating hull intellectual property and license it to NEAV for this project.

NEAV will continue to involve Maine companies in permitting, construction and assembly, deployment, and ongoing operations and maintenance of the project. In addition, NEAV has committed to working with the University of Maine on research, development and design to take the technology elsewhere in the U.S. and the world. The concrete hulls are designed to be built in communities adjacent to potential projects, generating local construction jobs and other benefits during the building and assembly phase.


The project partners claim that it will create more than $150 million in total economic output and create hundreds of Maine-based jobs during the construction period.

Diamond Offshore Wind (DOW) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Diamond Generating Corporation (DGC) and a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation (MC). It was formed by DGC to develop, own and operate offshore wind projects in the U.S.

RWE Renewables, the newest subsidiary of the RWE Group, is one of the world's leading renewable energy companies. With around 3,500 employees, the company has onshore and offshore wind farms, photovoltaic plants and battery storage facilities with a combined capacity of approximately 9 GW.


For more information on floating offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.

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