United States

United States

Offshore wind test site proposed for Delaware

Application submitted for US Department of Energy funding

Researchers at the University of Delaware and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado are planning to develop an offshore wind test project. It would be located in the Atlantic Ocean off Delaware, but the site has yet to be confirmed.

Its scale would be small, but a funding application has been submitted to the US Department of Energy. Local utility operator Delmarva Power has also committed to the project, on a power purchase basis.

The Energy Department's funding programme makes available $180m (€144m) to offshore wind demonstration projects. A number of projects have been proposed, but no turbines have yet been installed off the US coast.

Three turbine suppliers, Vestas, Gamesa and Siemens, are reported to be "supporters" of the Delaware project, but no single company would be favoured in its development.            

Jeremy Firestone, associate professor of marine policy at the University of Delaware, said the goal was to test the available technology, with a view to reducing the costs of offshore wind energy.

But a number of hurdles stand in the project's way. Not least, securing a lease and gaining state and local approval. Public consultation would also be required, as would regulatory approval of the power purchase agreement with Delmarva Power.

In 2008, Delmarva Power had signed a power purchase agreement with Bluewater Wind, which was subsequently terminated. The 450MW Mid-Atlantic project would see turbines installed 21km off the Delaware coast.

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