Image courtesy of Aqua Ventus Maine

The University of Maine has announced that two industry heavyweights are investing in the development of a pioneer floating offshore wind technology project.

Diamond Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi company, is joining with RWE Renewables to invest $100 million to build and deploy a full-scale, floating wind farm 14 miles off Maine’s coast.

They will collaborate through a new joint venture called New England Aqua Ventus, which will collaborate with the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center that is designing, engineering, researching and monitoring the floating platform technology.

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New England Aqua Ventus I is an up to 12MW floating offshore wind pilot project to develop a clean, renewable energy source off Maine’s shores.

This demonstration project is unique in that it will mount a 9.5-10MW wind turbine to a floating semisubmersible concrete hull called the VolturnUS, designed by the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine.

The patented VolturnUS hull technology has been demonstrated in independent reports to reduce the cost of offshore wind. The turbine is held in position in the ocean by three marine mooring lines securely anchored to the seabed and connected by subsea cable to the Maine power grid by subsea cable.

The full-scale project is expected to be completed by 2023 and could create 350 jobs.

“This will likely be the first project in the US of commercial scale, if all goes according to schedule,” said Habib Dagher, executive director of the UMaine Composites Center.

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