MHK project in Massachusetts will not go forward as planned

On June 3, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) announced that their plan to buy a marine hydrokinetic (MHK) turbine and create a program of studies around it will not go forward. The project was set to begin this July in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology, and Bristol Community College.

The state of Massachusetts cut about US$1 million of research and workforce development money allocated to MMA for installation of a MHK turbine about 13-ft in diameter, capable of producing up to 60 kW. The turbine would have deployed in Cape Cod Canal on the academy’s campus.

The elimination of the money is part of Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R) administration to close a budget gap of more than $765 million, according to Brendan Moss, deputy communications director at the Executive Office for Administration and Finance.

In May 2015, MMA sought a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District for the construction and maintenance of a 950-ft L-shaped 22-ft by 948-ft pile-supported pier, with a 240-ft section of wave fence at its outer corner in Buzzards Bay. The pier would accommodate additional MHK testing berths for private industry and universities.

A final decision on the status of the pier and the program’s future has yet to be determined. The academy said it is looking at other means to purchase a turbine and develop course curriculum.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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