Construction Begins On University Of Delaware Wind Turbine

The University of Delaware and Gamesa Technology Corporation have joined forces to install a utility-scale 2-megawatt (2-MW) wind turbine at UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes. The joint venture, First State Marine Wind, is a partnership between UD-owned Blue Hen Wind and Gamesa USA.

This partnership came about because of synergies that emerged from wind power research being conducted at UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and College of Engineering, the State of Delaware’s interest in offshore wind energy, the City of Lewes’ interest in innovative energy opportunities, and Gamesa’s interest in improving its understanding of the effects of marine conditions such as salt spray on wind turbines coatings, corrosion, and avian impacts.

In 2008, UD worked with Ontario, N.Y.-based Sustainable Energy Developments Inc. to determine the feasibility of placing a commercial scale turbine on the campus. The results of that study indicated that the energy generated from a 2-MW twind urbine would offset the energy used at the Lewes campus. In addition, project leaders expect the turbine to provide educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate science and engineering students interested in wind energy.

“After much planning, study, and coordination, we are now taking the final steps toward achieving research on and educational opportunities for a technology that will be part of tomorrow’s economy,” said CEOE Dean Nancy Targett.

The effort is spearheaded by UD and Gamesa Technology Corporation Inc., with Sustainable Energy Development Inc., the Department of Energy, the City of Lewes, and the state of Delaware as key partners.

In addition to providing carbon-free electricity generation, the project will enhance 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 the university and Gamesa establish the first offshore wind turbine in the Americas in 2011 or 2012.

“Gamesa remains a world leader in wind energy development and deployment,” Gamesa North America CEO Dirk Matthys said. “Through our partnership with the University of Delaware, we are expanding our ability to harness and tap the vast potential of this renewable energy resource. This is an exciting project that marks the beginning of the next generation of clean energy development. Wind energy is going to play a key role in creating a stronger and more sustainable American economy.”

The 300-ton turbine will be located to the north and west of campus buildings. When completed, it will stand 400 feet high from its tower base to the apex of its blade at peak rotation. A typical 2-megawatt turbine provides enough emissions-free electricity to power about 500 average homes, so the single turbine is expected to provide clean, carbon-free electricity for the entire campus. At times, the turbine will generate more than enough power for the campus; the excess will be fed to the electric grid for use by others in Lewes.

The turbine is expected to be in operation and generating electricity in April.