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Wind Power Program

The University of Delaware (UD) Wind Power Program, initiated in 2003, conducts research, education, and outreach on wind power, with emphasis on coastal and offshore wind. Our approach to research, education and outreach is cross-cutting, integrated, and interdisciplinary.

The UD Wind Power Program is a major focal area of the Center for Carbon-free Power Integration (CCPI). Although its primary administrative home is in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, it has strong links to the College of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering), Center for Composite Materials, and the College of Business and Economics, among others academic units at the University of Delaware (UD).

This website describes our research, teaching, role in technology deployment, and public outreach, gives an introduction to some wind concepts and tools, and describes the Delaware offshore wind energy area. Below we highlight UD’s Wind Power Graduate Certificate program, the UD Lewes campus 2 MW wind turbine, some recent research undertaken by the UD Wind Power Program, and student opportunities, with additional information available in this website and in annual CCPI reports.

Graduate Certificate in Wind Power Science, Engineering and Policy

Recently approved by the University of Delaware, the Graduate Certificate offers students a unique opportunity to study the key areas of importance in an integrated and interdisciplinary framework with some of the academic leaders in wind power. The certificate program is designed to give broad knowledge of wind power technology and project development from multiple perspectives. The certificate gives graduate students formal recognition of their wind expertise, as well as increasing their knowledge base, and assists professionals in the wind industry to do their job more effectively and advance their job opportunities.

Lewes Wind Turbine

In 2010, the University of Delaware in partnership with Gamesa Technology Company installed a 2MW Gamesa G90 wind turbine adjacent to UD’s coastal campus in Lewes, DE. This project was initiated and carried out by UD Wind Power Program Faculty members Jeremy Firestone and Willett Kempton and CEOE Dean Nancy Targett. The wind turbine powers the six main buildings associated with the Lewes campus. Furthermore, for much of the year the wind turbine generates electricity beyond what the campus uses in a given month, with the excess carbon-free electricity being used by the town of Lewes. In addition to providing clean electricity to the UD Lewes campus and to the town of Lewes, the turbine has provided several research opportunities, including investigations into avian and bat mortality, sea-air corrosion, and drive train optimization; is used as an educational platform to enhance and as an adjunct to classroom instruction; and helps to support graduate students through the sale of renewable energy credits.

Current Research

The UD Wind Power Program has recently initiated work on several new research grants. These include an NSF EAGER grant, Delaware/NOAA Sea Grant awards, a BOEM cooperative agreement and an NSF EPSCoR grant. Cristina Archer is leading a study funded by an EAGER grant that models atmospheric turbulence and wake effects of wind turbines. George Parsons and Jeremy Firestone are conducting a survey funded by BOEM to evaluate how offshore wind may potentially affect beach choices from South Carolina to Cape Cod. Second, Jeremy Firestone and Meryl Gardner are working on a NOAA Sea Grant award that will gauge Maryland and Delaware resident’s willingness to pay a premium for offshore wind. Third, PhD Candidate Alison Bates is leading as a marine spatial planning quantitative assessment of potential conflict between offshore wind power development and commercial fishing. Lastly, UD Wind Power Program researchers are part of the University of Delaware’s EPSCoR grant team and are investigate geotechnical characteristics of the seafloor to facilitate cost reduction (John Madsen) and the benefits of employing integrated risk assessment to offshore wind power (Bonnie Ram). Ongoing projects include several grants from the US Department of Energy on integrated system design, grid integration, and resource assessment.

Students and the AWEA Student Chapter

Students come to graduate study at UD and the UD Wind Power Program with assorted backgrounds befitting an interdisciplinary program (e.g., biology, economics, environmental science, law, mechanical engineering, meteorology, ocean engineering, oceanography, physics, and policy) to research and the classroom. They then advance to interesting positions in diverse fields, including:

  • Five in government (executive branch, legislative branch, government watchdog)
  • Four in the private sector (energy developer, RTO, and V2G start-up)
  • Three in academia/think tank (college, university, research institute)

Graduate students have been supported by fellowships (Magers Family Fellowship, UD-DEMEC Fellowship in Wind Energy Research, and Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship), research grants, and UD Departmental funds. UD’s American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Student Chapter is one of two pilot university student chapters, the other at the University of Iowa. The Chapter is composed entirely of graduate students. The UD AWEA Student Chapter is focused on the career development, research, advocacy and education regarding the wind industry. In addition, the AWEA Student Chapter, along with the Center for Carbon-free Power Integration, co-hosts twice-monthly Brown-Bag Lunch Seminars, where students and faculty discuss their latest research.

Events and News


Two new articles co-authored by the UD wind group address often asked questions: Can offshore wind power exist with historic uses of the marine environment? And, is it possible to slow down or stop hurricane damage?

Re-routing Commercial Ships; Saving Money

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is used to plan and manage the increasingly complex web of ocean uses. Here UD Wind Power Program researchers (led by recent MS recipient, Kateryna Samoteskul) demonstrate the utility of taking MSP beyond mapping, by employing quantitative cost-effectiveness analysis to assess tradeoffs between offshore wind power and commercial shipping. They estimate that the added private and external vessel costs of rerouting deep draft vessel transiting between mid-Atlantic ports further offshore to facilitate offshore wind power development to be approximately $193 million over a period of 29 years (in 2012$), while the net benefits are approximately $14 billion (in 2012$). They conclude that modifying areas where vessels transit needs to be included in the portfolio of policies used to support the launch and growth of the offshore wind industry. Samoteskul, Kateryna., Firestone, Jeremy, Corbett, James, Callahan, John, Analysis of Vessel Rerouting Scenarios to Open Areas for Offshore Wind Power Development Reveals Significant Societal Benefits, Journal of Environmental Management, 141: 146-154 (2014); doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2014.03.026. As accepted copy.

Taming Hurricanes

Turbine-birdNew research by Stanford University and the University of Delaware shows that an army of offshore wind turbines could reduce hurricanes’ wind speeds, wave heights and flood-causing storm surge. Hurricanes are causing increasing damage to many coastal regions worldwide. Offshore wind turbines can provide substantial clean electricity year-round, but can they also mitigate hurricane damage while avoiding damage to themselves? This study suggests just that. Jacobson, Mark Z., Cristina L. Archer, and Willett Kempton, Taming hurricanes with arrays of offshore wind turbines, Nature Climate Change, March 2014, doi:10.1038/nclimate2120, may require payment. The paper is also cited in USA Today, Ars Technica, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Discovery Channel. Some of Archer's work can be seen on her webpage.

Helga Huntley

Tracking ocean pollution

Uncovering new clues about how oil, other pollutants move in ocean
Asia Dowtin

Stemflow study

Investigating how rainwater travels in urban forests
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Horseshoe Crabs and Artificial Bait

We are working to identify chemoattractants in horseshoe crabs and produce an artificial bait, reducing the reliance on horseshoe crabs in the eel and conch fisheries.

CEOE School & Departments

School of Marine Science & Policy

Advancing the understanding, stewardship, and conservation of estuarine, coastal, and ocean environments.

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Department of Geological Sciences

Discovering how geological processes have operated over various time scales to create and influence the planet’s surface environments.

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Department of Geography

Investigating the interactions between people and the environment and the processes that explain the location of human and natural phenomena.

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College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment • 111 Robinson Hall • Newark, DE 19716 • USA • Phone: 302-831-2841
Geography: 302-831-2294 • Geology: 302-831-2569 • Marine Science and Policy: 302-645-4212 • E-mail: ceoe-info@udel.edu

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