Maine Offshore Wind Project dealt a blow in this round of federal grants

ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The U.S. Department of Energy selected three other projects for $47 million dollars in grants for offshore wind energy projects. The University of Maine-led consortium's project was selected as an alternate project and received $3 million in federal funding.

Jake Ward, who heads up the UMaine led consortium, Maine Aqua Ventus I, says the $3 million dollar grant will allow the consortium to continue to work on design and engineering and consider the next step.

"The University of Maine remains enthusiastic about the opportunities from the VolturnUS technology to tap into the largest sources of renewable energy in Maine," Ward says. "The winds in the Gulf of Maine are still there. The need for economical, environmentally sustainable renewable energy that can create local and U.S. jobs is still an important goal for Maine and the United States. The extensive work that the UMaine lead team has completed is very important to meeting these goals."

Ward added that without the grant, the project would need additional funding to move beyond the design phase. He is optimistic that the project will be able to compete for future DOE grants.

The projects that did receive $47 Million dollars in grants include: Fishermen's Energy in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Principle Power in Coos Bay Oregon, and Dominion Virginia Power off the coast of Virginia Beach.

Members of Maine's Congressional delegation released statements this afternoon.

"While I am disappointed UMaine was not selected for the full grant, the R&D partnership will continue to move this project and Maine's ongoing efforts to become a leader in renewable energy forward," said Congressman Mike Michaud.

Senators Susan Collins and Angus King released a joint statement:

"While we are disappointed that the University's application was not selected for a full award at this point, we are very encouraged that, with this $3 million investment, the Department of Energy clearly recognizes the project's enormous potential. DOE is pledging to engage in an R&D partnership and continue its investment in the University's innovative deepwater, offshore wind technology. One hundred percent design completion is no mere consolation prize, but rather an extraordinary investment and proof that the DOE knows what we have long known: that the Gulf of Maine is a tremendous resource for wind energy that could provide an affordable source of renewable energy directly to the country's population centers on the East Coast while creating thousands of new jobs in Maine. In addition, it would diversify Maine's electricity supply.

"We will continue to support the University as it seeks financing, whether through the Department of Energy or other venues, and we look forward to helping Maine maintain its lead in deepwater, offshore wind power development and innovation."

"Maine has a significant offshore wind resource and the supply chain for wind power is already well established in the state. I'm convinced it's just a matter of time before offshore wind is a reality in Maine and I'm hopeful the federal government continues to fund the research and development being done in Maine," Pingree said. "Wind and tidal power is and will continue to be an important part of our economy and has already created close to 2,000 high quality jobs. I firmly believe clean energy will keep creating good-paying jobs and develop new sources of clean energy right here at home."


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