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Offshore wind turbine stands up to gusts, waves

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 16, 2014 at 12:02 pm •  Published: January 16, 2014

Instead of using a steel structure, the University of Maine and construction company Cianbro Corp. used cement to create the 90,000-pound floating platform that's tethered to the ocean bottom.

Video during the presentation at the University of Southern Maine showed that the platform and turbine remained stable even as the tugboats bobbed up and down while deploying the unit.

Dagher acknowledged that there were some anxious moments as the first big storm rolled through the Gulf of Maine on Nov. 1.

"None of us slept on that day as the storm went through. We could watch this thing live on video. It was beaming data back to us," he said.

He and other researchers kept close watch on data from 70 sensors aboard the platform during that storm and several others that battered the platform in November and December. The platform and turbine bobbed and leaned at a maximum of 5.9 degrees, just as engineers anticipated, Dagher said.

With PUC approval for installing two larger turbines off Monhegan, Maine Aqua Ventus hopes to win a $50 million federal energy grant in May to move forward with full-scale turbines.

If those are successful, then the goal will be to use the 83 of the 6-megawatt turbines to create a 500-megawatt wind farm that's 8 miles long and 4 miles wide, Dagher said. By contrast, the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant generated about 800 megawatts of electricity when it was in operation.


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