Cutting-Edge Wind Power Blades Get U.S. Grant

The Obama administration has big plans for wind-power generation off the Atlantic coast, and now it’s moving to give a Maine research center the capability of “designing, manufacturing and testing prototype wind blades of up to 70 meters in length in the United States.”

The U.S. Commerce Department said it was making a $3 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the University of Maine’s Offshore Wind Energy Laboratory at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center. “This EDA grant will provide cutting-edge technologies that will advance wind energy generation and serve as a catalyst for job creation in rural Maine,” Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said.

Maine offshore wind power research center

image via Shutterstock

According to the Commerce Department, the EDA investment will make possible the “development and procurement of automated composites manufacturing equipment” that will allow the center to design, build and test large offshore wind blades on-site. “The project aims to find production efficiencies that will boost manufacturing of wind blades in the United States,” the department said.

Maine offshore wind power research center

image via University of Maine

And these will be green turbine blades as well, with the university estimating that “the recyclable materials it will develop for wind blade construction will prevent landfill disposal of up to 1 billion lbs. of retired blades per year.”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • This grant to the University of Maine should help to push wind turbine production in the US to be more competitive and sustainable. The center has the potential of developing the technology further such that turbine projects small and large are more feasible. This is great news!