Maine floating trial takes to the water

Grid connection expected this week

North America's first floating offshore wind turbine should become grid connected tomorrow or Wednesday. Weather conditions in the Gulf of Maine are too windy today for engineers to go out to sea as planned, Elizabeth Viselli, offshore wind programs manager at the University of Maine, told Windpower Offshore.

The 20kW offshore turbine prototype is mounted on a floating platform. It entered the water at Brewer, Maine on Friday, as part of a test programme organised by the DeepCWind consortium. Over the weekend it was towed out to the Gulf of Maine and moored just off Dyce Head, Castine. The prototype will remain in place for 30 days, before being moved to deeper waters near the island of Monhegan for July and August.

Last year, the DeepCWind consortium won $4m of funding from the US Department of Energy (DoE). It hopes to secure one of two larger DoE grants – of up to $47m – allowing it to proceed with a 12MW project. The DoE’s decision is expected in April 2014.