By Ramona du Houx

May 23, 2010

According to Dr. Dagher, Maine has the equivalent of 149 nuclear power plants in wind energy off the Maine coast.

Dagher is leading the DeepCwind Consortium at the University of Maine, which includes more than 35 public and private partners. Many are Maine companies, like Reed & Reed who has built a reputation in expertly erecting wind towers.

Dagher is improving wind technology with his team’s expertise in composites at UMO and their partnership with a Norwegian company that successfully deployed the world’s first floating wind turbine.

“We are going to build Maine’s prototype floating wind tower next year, using Maine labor and Maine people,” said Dagher. The 100-foot-tall prototype will be floating off Monhegan Island by 2012, in water 400 feet deep, being monitored and tested for two to three months.

This June there will be a bond question that would provide $11 million for the ocean-wind demonstration site.

“The bond will allow us to put the first floating wind turbine in the U.S. off the coast of Maine,” said Dagher. “It will leverage $25 million in federal funding so we can become the world leader in floating wind turbines. We’ve had tremendous support from the federal, state and local level, and different industries involved. Everyone realizes that this is about the future of Maine in energy independence and the creation of jobs.”

Dagher said that with continued research and development, the wind towers would evolve, and they would be desired around the globe. This Maine expertise will lead to thousands of jobs, as more offshore, floating, wind platforms are built.

“They will be as tall as the Washington Monument,” said Dagher. “Out of sight and sound.”

Because they float in deep water, where there are greater winds, they vanish beyond the horizon.