The UD/CCPI is the leading teaching and research institution in the United States on offshore wind power and on vehicle-to-grid (V2G) electric storage. CCPI is part of the UD’s broader efforts on energy through the University of Delaware Energy Institute (UDEI).
CCPI has researchers with appointments in four UD colleges—Earth, Ocean and Environment; Engineering; Business; and Agriculture and Natural Resources—and conducts leading-edge research in renewable energy including Mechanical Engineering of wind turbines; Meteorology; Public Policy; Composites; Business; Economics, and Finance; Bio-corrosion; Geophysical and Geotechnical Aspects of Offshore Wind, Marine Spatial Planning and Ornithology. CCPI/UD researchers have served on the recent National Academy of Science workgroup planning committee regarding offshore wind, and speak and write widely on offshore wind power and V2G. They actively participate in public policy making, as evidenced by their lead role in the Delaware proceedings, which led to the first power purchase agreement in the Americas for offshore wind power and to a rule that requires Delaware utilities to quantify the external effects of power generation (health and environmental effects) in long-term electricity planning, and advising of state governments on offshore wind including Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and Michigan.
CCPI works closely with the offshore wind industry as evidenced by the following: a five-year research partnership with a major wind turbine supplier; active participation on the AWEA Offshore Wind Working Group, including chairing the R&D committee from 2007 until 2011; being a competitive awardee of a DOE-funded University-Industry Consortia for collaborative research on offshore wind turbines; its agreement with a developer allowing UD researchers to add instruments to the developer’s planned met tower and collect oceanographic data; its joint work with AWEA to organize the first AWEA Offshore Wind Workshop; and its chairing of the 2010 Offshore Wind Conference held in Philadelphia.
CCPI is however an independent voice, having, for example, undertaken research the results of which have not always been favorable to the industry; advocating for policies that the industry does not necessarily prefer (rents and royalties for use of ocean space; and recommending that pilot projects be defined for purposes of streamline environmental analysis as being centered on testing, innovation and research rather than mere demonstration of the technology).
Finally, 2011 was a time of transition for CCPI. From its inception in the fall of 2008 until 2011, Dr. Willett Kempton had served as the Director of Center. As CCPI grew and took on more involved projects such as the wind turbine on the Lewes campus and University-Industry Consortium, and as part of the natural transition, an additional management position of Director of Research and External Affairs was created. Dr. Kempton transitioned into the position of Research Director, while Dr. Jeremy Firestone assumed the position of Center Director. An additional governing scientist - Dr. John Madsen - was added to CCPI - bringing the total to seven governing members. Also, a second category of membership was created to facilitate the involvement of additional scientists with CCPI without the need for them to become engaged in Center governance.
The Mission of the Center for Carbon-free Power (CCPI) is to conduct scientific research, educate the next generation of students, and actively engage industry, policy makers and the public, and facilitate use of power from carbon-free geophysical flows. These power sources include surface wind, geostrophic winds, and ocean currents. The primary areas of inquiry are offshore wind power, and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology as a means of electricity storage.
CCPI focuses on large sources of carbon-free power as alternatives to energy sources that emit carbon dioxide (CO2), which causes the oceans to become more acidic, and is the greatest greenhouse gas contributor toward climate change. The center’s focus is on electricity and transportation because they account for the largest fractions of human CO2 production. CCPI also focuses on the co-benefits of offshore wind power, including reduction in health impacts and the life-cycle environmental effects of energy production, economic development and job creation, price stability, and energy independence.
CCPI is also committed to learning by doing and works closely with graduate student research assistants and undergraduate researchers. CCPI seeks out opportunities for students through partnerships such as one with the National Wind Technology Center in Boulder. Finally, CCPI is actively engaged in knowledge transfer to government, industry and the public.