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UMaine seeks second DOE grant to build pilot wind farm off Monhegan

ORONO, ME – In February, the Maine Aqua Ventus I (MAV-I) team submitted its proposal for a demonstration-scale offshore wind farm to the US Department of Energy (DOE) in the second qualifying round for

$46.5 million in funding.

If successful, the grant will go towards designing, deploying, and monitoring two six-megawatt wind turbines at the state-designated offshore wind test site south of Monhegan Island.  Home to a year-round population of about 65 people, Monhegan is a small island, 1.75 miles long and .75 of a mile wide, located about 11 miles off Midcoast Maine.

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The location and approximate size of the Monhegan wind farm demonstration site about 2.5 miles south of the island. (Maine Aqua Ventus I GP LLC graphics)

Last year at this time, the project, which is being led by the University of Maine (UMaine), was one of seven to secure the first $4 million in funding from DOE.  In doing so, it beat out 63 other teams seeking funding for innovative offshore wind projects.

The first phase allowed selected projects to complete 50% of the front-end engineering and design work for their demonstration-scale wind farms.

The upcoming round of funding comes with a few strings attached.  Qualifying teams must show that their projects would create cheap electricity by the 2030s – as low as 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.  They also must have an academic research partner, a requirement that the MAV-I team says puts it in the lead.

Maine Aqua Ventus I GP LLC is the general partnership firm that will construct and operate the pilot wind farm.  The partnership includes Maine Prime Technologies, a subsidiary of UMaine; Brewer-based Cianbro Corporation, a national construction firm; and Nova Scotia-based Emera Inc., an experienced energy developer.

Additionally, there is a long list of contributors to the project, including:  the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, which will perform environmental data collection; Maine Maritime Academy; and the Maine Ocean and Wind Industry Initiative.  Each offers its own expertise to what is hoped to be a solution to Maine’s energy needs far into the future…

CFN_3_14cover…read the rest of this story and much, much more in the March issue of Commercial Fisheries News.

Read online immediately and download for future reference.

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