Oregon gets offshore wind research grant
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
Oregon was one of 20 states to win money for offshore wind energy research this week.
The U.S. Department of Energy awarded $43 million in funding for work and research related to offshore wind energy, including $600,000 to a research project based at Oregon State University.
The OSU research will develop an integrated sensor array for offshore wind turbines that will monitor turbine interactions with birds and bats.
As with land-based wind farms, scientists are concerned about wind turbines interfering with the flight paths of birds and bats. The sensors will assist with that monitoring.
"On land it's pretty easy to determine the amount of mortality by simply walking along the base of the towers and finding bodies," said Robert Suryan, assistant professor at OSU and principal investigator for the research project. "But that's not so in the water."
Suryan said the sensors will be outfitted using infared cameras, visual spectrum cameras and accelerometers and will be tested on land before being deployed in an offshore environment.
In all, the DOE funded 41 projects at more than 160 universities, labs and businesses in 20 states. The research at this point is focused on deploying offshore wind power along the East Coast.
Water depth off the coast of Oregon makes deployment of offshore turbines challenging, but wind turbines deployed on a floating platform may be possible in the future.
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