U.S. energy department grants Maine $3.7 million to further research, develop offshore wind technology

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 10:45am


    The federal Department of Energy has granted Maine $3.7 million to further research and development offshore wind technology in Maine.

    Representatives Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin said this morning that a $3.7 million federal grant for further research and development of offshore wind technology in Maine is a big boost to the state's clean energy industry.

    Last month Pingree and Poliquin asked the Secretary of Energy to make a significant investment in the Maine technology after competing projects in other parts of the country were plagued with cost and regulatory challenges.

    "The Maine consortium has done what competing projects around the country have not been able to do—deliver on performance while staying on cost and schedule.  This project is a great example of Maine ingenuity and hard work and deserves a significant federal investment," Pingree said in a news release.  "Maine has the wind resource and the people to develop an offshore wind industry and this is a step in that direction."

    "It’s critical that our researchers are given the tools they need to explore more efficient and reliable energy production methods," said Congressman Poliquin.  "We must find ways to lower the cost of energy to help save money for our hard-working Maine families."

    Pingree and Poliquin say that the Maine Aqua Ventus project, a public/private consortium led by the University of Maine, will be getting a $3.7 million Department of Energy (DOE) grant to develop further the floating offshore wind platform that they have designed.

    Maine Aqua Ventus was considered an alternate to three other projects around the country.  But after those projects failed to win a power purchase agreement—a contract to sell the electricity they would produce—Pingree and Poliquin asked the DOE to promote the Maine project instead. In addition to the grant announced today, DOE gave the other three projects an extension until early summer to further develop their projects. At the end of May, federal officials will reassess all the projects, including Aqua Ventus, to determine who will get further funding.