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Dutch know-how for first US offshore wind test centre

Oilfield Technology,

A consortium of Ecofys, Fugro and Real NewEnergy has started developing the Poseidon Atlantic centre, the first North American offshore wind turbine test centre, off the eastern Atlantic shore of the US state of Virginia. The project has come about through collaboration between the Commonwealth of Virginia, Northampton County and the Virginia Port Authority with further support from the Dutch government.

Currently, there is a lack of expert certification testing for offshore wind turbines worldwide. Poseidon Atlantic will help to fill this need and represents an important stepping stone for offshore wind development along the US east coast. The region has potential to become a hub for offshore wind development due to its deep water ports and local, skilled and flexible workforce. The centre will supply testing and certification services so manufactures can show proof of quality and it will also allow turbine manufacturers to conduct their own research.

This work will draw heavily on Dutch expertise. As recently as February 2011 Ecofys inaugurated Europe's largest onshore wind turbine test centre in Lelystad, Netherlands, and is now set to play a major role in the US project.

“Participating in Poseidon Atlantic provides Ecofys with the exciting opportunity to participate at the forefront of offshore wind energy development in the US, using its broad expertise in both wind turbine test site development and operation and in offshore wind energy,” commented Kees van der Leun, COO of Ecofys. Fugro will supply engineering services in connection with the test centre's site and development. Real NewEnergy is a key driver behind the project in its role as facilitator for the introduction and dissemination of Dutch renewable energy capabilities in the US.

With space for eight to ten turbines, the facility will have up to 50 MW of wind generation capacity representing a total investment of around US$ 100 to 120 million. The aim is to complete construction for the end of 2012, with the first turbines starting to generate energy by early spring 2013. The facility is expected to run for at least 20 years.

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