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.


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.

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