June 18, 2018
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Floating wind turbines could get Great Lakes test

In this August 2011 photo provided by the University of Maine, Habib Dagher, director of the University of Maine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center, left, shows U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Sen. Susan Collins a scale model of a floating wind turbine in Orono, Maine. A $3 million federal grant will be used for a component lab that will build prototype blades, towers and hulls for floating windmills. (AP Photo/University of Maine)


MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — Two Michigan universities are joining with a Seattle-based business to pursue the idea of offshore floating wind turbines for the Great Lakes.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports ( http://bit.ly/JczXxN ) Friday that Grand Valley State University and Michigan Technological University are among those seeking federal funding for initial engineering and design of floating turbine technology. The idea would be to put them out of sight of land.

In Maine, a coalition of businesses and research groups, led by the University of Maine, is seeking to test floating turbines off the coast. Statoil North America Inc., a division of the Norwegian company Statoil ASA, submitted an application in October for a commercial lease to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for an area of ocean that’s about 22 square miles for full assessment of environmental impacts, sea bed conditions and wind speeds. The lease area is about 12 nautical miles offshore of the Boothbay area.

Charles Nordstrom, senior engineer on the Glosten Associates’ PelaStar project, says the Great Lakes region is one area where the technology could be tested.

Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center is the lead agency requesting funding from the Energy Department for a U.S. offshore wind demonstration project. Others in the group include Energetx Composites LLC, a wind turbine blade manufacturer that’s based in southwestern Michigan.

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