Ocean Energy

The University of Maine was selected in a competitive proposal process to become the Department of Energy’s research institution for energy from offshore wind.  By offshore, we mean the full challenge of designing, building and evaluating environmental impacts of erecting floating wind turbines anchored in water 100 m or more deep and at least 10 mi from shore.  Beware that “offshore wind” is also used much more loosely for maturing technologies that place turbines on a rigid foundation affixed to the seafloor and have been used in Europe for nearly a decade.  Moored structures present greater challenges but also promise greater rewards from higher wind speeds offshore because power output scales nonlinearly with wind speed.  Wind and wave data and structure survivability information comes from a decade of reliable buoy measurements taken by UMaine’s Physical Oceanography Group (PhOG).  Other SMS faculty members are actively exploring potential environmental impacts of both offshore wind energy extraction and power generation from tidal kinetic energy.

Participating Faculty