August 6, 2020 Read More →

RWE, Mitsubishi to develop floating wind project off the Maine coast

Greentech Media:

After years of development, the University of Maine has landed two major energy investors for its floating offshore wind demonstration project, announcing that units of Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. and German utility RWE will buy and build the project — a potential door-opener for the U.S. floating wind market.

RWE Renewables and Mitsubishi-owned Diamond Offshore Wind have formed a new joint venture, known as New England Aqua Ventus, that will acquire, develop and eventually operate the single-turbine floating wind project that is expected to cost $100 million.

The joint venture hopes to finalize the design work in 2021, sign the supply-chain contracts in 2022 and build the project in 2023, said Wojciech Wiechowski, senior manager at RWE Renewables, in a Wednesday interview.

RWE claims to be the world’s second-largest developer of offshore wind projects, after Denmark’s Ørsted. Aqua Ventus will be its first project in U.S. waters, and one of a small handful of floating demonstration projects it’s investing in globally, Wiechowski said.

UMaine, whose Advanced Structures and Composites Center has been researching floating wind technology since 2008 and has carried the project this far, will own the intellectual property behind the VolturnUS floating hull concept and will license the technology to the Aqua Ventus project — and hopefully more to come.

Aqua Ventus’ latest design calls for using a single turbine rated at 10 to 12 megawatts. That’s at the upper end of the range of offshore turbines available commercially today and would break new ground for the emerging floating wind market. The largest floating offshore project in operation is Equinor’s Hywind Scotland, which uses five 6-megawatt turbines.

[Karl-Erik Stromsta]

More: Maine’s $100M floating offshore wind project finds major backers: RWE and Mitsubishi

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