Maine Wind Project Faces Crucial Vote This A.M.

John Davis

aquaventasmaineThe fate of an offshore wind project is in the hands of the Maine Public Utilities Commission this morning. This story from the Bangor Daily News says the floating turbine technology project is facing the commission vote on whether it can move forward under a long-term power contract.

Tuesday’s PUC meeting is not a public hearing. Only commissioners will be allowed to speak during the deliberations. They will also be able to ask questions of PUC staff about Maine Aqua Ventus’ project and the project’s term sheet, which details the conditions under which the consortium will sell an estimated 43,000 megawatt hours per year to the power grid from its two, six-megawatt turbines at a price of 23 cents per kilowatt hour. That’s about 14 cents more per kilowatt hour than the current standard offer rate set by the PUC.

The pilot project proposed for waters off Monhegan Island is the next step in the development of UMaine’s offshore wind technology. The university in June 2013 deployed a 1:8-scale model of VolturnUS, its prototype floating turbine, in waters of Castine.

Maine Aqua Ventus I would be a pilot for the future development of a 500-megawatt offshore wind farm project in the Gulf of Maine and possibly elsewhere. The goal is to achieve wind-generated electricity at 10 cents per kilowatt hour by the 2030s.

University of Maine economists say the $120 million project will create more than 300 full- and part-time jobs.