University of Delaware's Wind Turbine Becomes Operational
What began as a joint research project between the University of Delaware ("UD") and Stanford University in January 2007, followed by years of planning and study, has culminated with the construction and commission of a 2-megawatt wind turbine at UD's Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, Delaware. The turbine was constructed through a joint venture between UD-owned Blue Hen Wind and Gamesa Technology Corporation. The City of Lewes and Sustainable Energy Developments, Inc. are also key partners in the project. The City of Lewes, a client of Whiteford Taylor and Preston, LLP in unrelated matters, worked with UD in approving the project.
The wind turbine is the first of its kind on the east coast and is expected to produce 5.52 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. It is estimated that this will provide enough energy to power UD's Lewes campus and research facilities with additional capacity to spare. In addition to generating carbon-free electricity, the project will produce research in areas such as turbine corrosion, avian impacts, and policy issues related to renewable energy. Information gained from the project is expected to help UD and Gamesa establish additional offshore wind turbines in the Americas in 2011 or 2012.
Many are optimistic that the first U.S. offshore wind farm will be located off the Delaware coastline. NRG Bluewater Wind has proposed a large wind farm for this area and has gained the support of state officials. The proposed site is thirteen miles off the Delaware coast, just south of Lewes. The state also has agreed to buy power from NRG Bluewater Wind.
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and UD recently announced they would work together to facilitate the potential establishment of a test site for commercial wind turbines located off the Delaware coast. Under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement worth $500,000 over the next five years, UD will work with federal and state agencies to identify and meet criteria for establishing potential offshore test sites. It is expected that NREL and UD will develop test procedures specific to the harsh offshore wind environment and establish methods for predicting wind energy costs in the United States.
For more information about the wind turbine at the UD or the work being performed between UD and NREL visit their websites at http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/lewesturbine/index.shtml and http://www.nrel.gov/