The University of Maine, leading the DeepCwind Consortium, deployed the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in U.S. waters, the VolturnUS 1:8, near Brewer, Maine, on May 31. The approximately 65-foot-tall wind turbine prototype includes a tower constructed of fiberglass-reinforced composite material, a first for wind energy installations, according to Kevin McDonald, general manager for fiber glass reinforcements for PPG Industries, Pittsburgh, Pa., who supported the landmark effort. Ershigs Inc., Bellingham, Wash., completed the on-site manufacturing and construction of the composite project.
“The funding and support that we receive from PPG to advance the development of the offshore wind market is critical for success,” says Tom Pilcher, Ershigs president. The VolturnUS 1:8 is part of a program to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy to compete more effectively with other forms of energy. One-eighth the scale of a 6-megawatt VolturnUS offshore wind turbine that the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center plans to launch in the coming years, the prototype will help validate and improve technologies, including the strong, lightweight and corrosion-resistant fiberglass-reinforced composite forming the tower. Read more at DeepCwind Consortium.