Del. Congressional Delegation makes pitch for UD offshore wind test site

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U.S. Sens. Tom Carper, Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney this week wrote to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu  urging him to review and support a joint proposal by the University of Delaware and the  National Renewable Energy Lab to establish a wind test site off of the Delaware coast.

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Wind turbine at University of Delaware Lewes campus.

The proposal came in response to the Department of Energy’s request for proposals for advanced technology demonstration projects.

The letter highlights what the delegation sees as  the benefits of supporting the University of Delaware wind project, including Delaware’s location at the center of the Mid-Atlantic region, where the offshore wind industry believes has the greatest near-term potential for offshore wind development.

The project is also supported by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Siemens, Gamesa, Vestas, the Port of Wilmington and Delmarva Power.

“The project has a unique advantage of facilitating the testing of not only of wind turbines, but also of other key components such as foundations and transmission lines to shore,” the letter letter noted.

A previous project to build a wind farm off the Delaware coast has essentially been abandoned, due to financing problems and uncertainties about the renewal of tax credits for wind projects.

UD has successfully operated a wind turbine at its Lewes campus, near the coast, with wind power manufacturer Gamesa using the site for testing.

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