University project mixes wind, water

Posted Dec. 11, 2012, at 11:17 a.m.

Wind turbines seem improbable enough: massive blades, rotating 300 feet off the ground, with a generator at the top making electricity and, logically, bolted firmly to bedrock.

But the thought of putting a similar unit on a bobbing platform in the ocean seems more impossible than improbable.

But so, too, is the device in your pocket that holds all your music, takes photos, makes telephone calls, accesses maps of the entire country and, well, you get the idea.

So it is great to see the University of Maine at the forefront of oceanic turbine research with a one-eighth scale model scheduled to be floating in the Gulf of Maine sometime next summer.

“We’re here at the beginning of an exciting era that could create a whole new industry in our state,” Habib Dagher told the Bangor Daily News last week.

Dagher is director of the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center and he envisions, by 2030, a full-scale wind farm offshore generating 5 gigawatts of wind energy on Maine’s shoreline.

For comparison’s sake, the Hoover Dam has a maximum rating of 2 gigawatts. So this could be big.

Or, maybe not.

That’s the risk of research. But it is exciting to see the University of Maine taking that highly calculated gamble.

Maine must create its own future, and this is one serious attempt to do just that.

Sun Journal, Lewiston (Dec. 11)

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/12/11/opinion/university-project-mixes-wind-water/ printed on July 10, 2014