Aqua Ventus spells out Maine plan

The US’ embryonic Aqua Ventus 1 floating wind turbine project has moved ahead with the release of the “public version” of its proposed 12MW pilot scheme off the coast of Maine.

Publication of the $96m plan, which would involve a pair of 6MW direct-drive machines with submersible concrete hulls moored off Monhegan Island, is the next step in the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) process for approval of a power-purchase agreement (PPA) for the demonstrator.

“The PUC PPA is the next step in securing the [Department of Energy] grant [for which Aqua Ventus was shortlisted last year], which is critical for the success of this important project for our state,” said Maine Aqua Ventus 1’s Jake Ward.

“Maine Aqua Ventus I was designed in Maine specifically to be deployed off the coast of Maine and will be built by Maine institutions and workers,” he continues. “As is clear from this newly-released proposal, the project represents a historic opportunity for Maine to be the leader of an important new offshore wind industry.

Electricity from the demonstrator would be fed to Monhegan Island and on to the mainland via a dedicated transmission line.

DeepCwind – a public-private partnership between the National Science Foundation-Partners for Innovation, the Maine Technology Institute, the state of Maine, the University of Maine and more than 30 industry partners – won a $4m Department of Energy grant last year to complete engineering on the project.

The Aqua Ventus 1 pilot will be designed around data currently being collected by a 1:8-scale model called VolturnUS that has been installed in 24-metres of water some 12 miles offshore.

Additional information about the project will be released with the Maine PUC approval, which is expected in mid-November.

Maine is calculated to have as much as 156GW of offshore wind capacity within 50 miles of its shores, and aims to deploy 5GW of offshore wind by 2030.