UMaine submits proposal for offshore wind project
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The University of Maine has submitted a proposal for a long-term contract for an offshore wind energy project, the state Public Utilities Commission said on Tuesday.
The university's bid comes after lawmakers approved legislation in July to reopen the bidding process for an offshore wind project to let the university compete for a contract.
Norwegian energy company Statoil and the utilities commission had agreed to terms in January for a $120 million project to put four 3-megawatt wind turbines a dozen miles off the coast on floating spar-buoy structures tethered to the seabed. But the company said in July that it will delay and may abandon the project because the reopening of competition created uncertainty.
Critics of the legislation, which was backed heavily by Republican Gov. Paul LePage, said reopening the bidding process and changing the rules on Statoil sends a bad message about the way Maine does business.
The University of Maine said in a statement that its submission is a "strong proposal" based, in part, on a wind turbine it has been testing off the coast since June. The VolturnUS is a 65-foot-tall prototype that's one-eighth the size of a full-scale turbine.
Utilities commission spokesman Harry Lanphear said Tuesday that the written proposal is confidential.
The commission will review the proposal and work with the university to come up with a term sheet or contract. It is expected to decide whether to authorize a contract by Dec. 31.