Offshore wind turbine farms, such as the Cape Wind project recently approved in Massachusetts, are a type of renewable energy resource still in its infancy here in the United States. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Delaware (UD) hope to change that, announcing this week plans for the “potential establishment of a test site for commercial wind turbines off the Delaware coast.”
Under the terms of the partnership between the two, which will amount to $500,000 invested over the next five years, UD will work with the government to find potential test sites. Public involvement is expected to be a key part of the process. The area’s “harsh offshore wind environment” will be taken into account in developing specific testing procedures. It is said that should an actual test site become reality, work done here will “generate the knowledge and information needed to improve the performance, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of offshore wind power.”
UD seems to be a good fit for the NREL in this project, given that the university’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment is already doing a fair amount of work in this area. Its program, for example, was apparently recently recognized “at an event attended by the Vice President of the United States, the Secretary of Interior, the Governor of Delaware and Delaware’s Congressional delegation,” among others. It also hosted the first offshore wind industry conference in the Americas.
“We are excited to partner with NREL on technology that will be part of tomorrow’s economy,” said Nancy Targett, dean of UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, in a statement. “This agreement complements the research and educational opportunities afforded by the coastal wind turbine we recently established at the college’s Lewes campus.”
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