CASTINE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The University of Maine is celebrating a successful first year performance of the VolturnUS floating wind turbine off the coast of Castine. It is the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in the Americas.
VolturnUS is a prototype that is about an eighth of the size of the turbine UMaine is looking to build. The Department of Energy officially offered UMaine a $3.8 million grant to further develop the project.
"We feel very lucky that we've been successful," project director Dr. Habib Dagher said. "We're lucky that the D.O.E. wants to invest again in the state of Maine, and we hope that we can build on that a year from now to raise the funding to build the pilot farm."
Officials from the University and the Department of Energy joined scientists on a boat ride to visit the project.
"We see Maine, along with the Pacific Northwest in the United States, as two areas that could be very important and competitive to be leaders in this next generation, leap-frog, off-shore wind floating technology," David Danielson of the Department of Energy said.
The Department of Energy also offered one million dollars to the Biodiversity Research Institute to study how the turbine will affect birds and bats in the area. The VolturnUS project has been made an alternate for a $47 million grant from the D.O.E.