Offshore Wind Power Gets Boost

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Energy (DOE) contacted Senator Susan Collins recently to inform her that the government will make a significant grant award to the University of Maine team working to develop a deepwater floating offshore wind energy project off the Coast of Maine.

This is the culmination of years of efforts by Senator Collins to secure funding to support the University’s research and development that will result in well-paying jobs for thousands of Mainers.

“I am thrilled that the innovative deepwater offshore wind initiative, New England Aqua Ventus I, led by the University of Maine, is one of just seven projects, selected by the U.S. Department of Energy for this competitive federal grant,” Sen. Collins said.

The UMaine-led project will receive up to $4 million to complete the engineering, design and permitting phase of this award. The project will then compete for one of three additional awards of up to $47 million each over four years to focus on siting, construction and installation and that aim to achieve commercial operation by the year 2017.

“The funding announced today is the key to the ignition of one of the most exciting projects ever undertaken by the State of Maine. And that key was presented to us by Senator Collins,” said Dr. Habib Dagher, Director of UMaine’s Composites Center.

The team, known as New England Aqua Ventus I, is comprised of the Universities of Maine and Massachusetts as well as the Maine Maritime Academy; Iberdrola, the largest wind developer in the world; Ershigs, Inc, the largest composite material fabricator in the U.S.; Central Maine Power; T.Y. Lin International, a leader in pre-stressed concrete design; Cianbro, Bath Iron Works and Maine engineering firms; Portsmouth Naval Shipyard; and Technip, which manufactured the first floating wind turbine hull in the world.

The U.S. has nearly 2,500 gigawatts of offshore wind potential within 50 nautical miles of shore, but more than half of this resource is in waters deeper than 200 feet.

Prior to the most recent announcement, Sen. Collins had already helped secure a total of $25 million in federal funding for Maine’s Deepwater Offshore Wind Initiative.

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Fenceviewer Staff

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