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DOE Chief Cites Gulf Spill for Wind Power Urgency

Energy Secretary Steven Chu stated today that the Gulf oil spill emphasized the importance of developing clean energy sources in the U.S. like wind power.

Chu, who has never been shy about touting the importance wind power has for the national energy program, visited the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center where they are working on new designs for floating deep-water wind turbine platforms.

Officials are working on getting an offshore wind farm operational off the coast of Maine within six years.

Chu described the Gulf Spill as “a tragedy” which spoke to the importance of incorporating wind power into the national energy strategy.

“It’s another reminder to step back and say, ‘We do need a comprehensive energy strategy in the United States for the coming decades,'” Chu said.

The Department of Energy has invested more than $25 million in The University of Main’s wind power research while Maine voters approved a bond that will see an addition $11 million assist a university-backed group develop a wind power test site for 2012 off the coast of Maine.

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Maine Wind Farm Opens

This week will see the opening of Maine’s second wind energy farm. The new 57-megawatt wind farm will provide the energy equivalent of the power required for 23,500 homes.

The wind farm, known as the Stetson Project, was developed by First Wind with a total of 38 wind turbines strung along a low mountain ridgeline in Eastern Maine. Combined with the previously built wind energy farm, also by First Wind, almost 100 megawatts of power will be produced.

First Wind has stated that the amount of oil required to produce that much energy would be 331,000 which would contribute 76,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

With the opening of the Stetson Project, Stetson II is already working on getting its permits. Stetson II would add an additional 17 wind turbines onto the project.

Currently in the construction phase and planned for operation next year is TransCanada’s  even larger project in Western Main. The 44-turbine wind energy farm will produce an additional 132 megawatts.

All of these and more wind energy projects are steps close to achieving the goals laid out by the Governors Task Force on Wind Power Development which is calling for a minimum of 2,000 megawatts of power derived from wind energy by 2015.

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