UMaine enlists 2 companies to provide $100 million for offshore wind project
by Charles Eichacker
The University of Maine has enlisted two prominent renewable energy developers to provide $100 million in funding for the school’s offshore wind demonstration project about two miles south of Monhegan Island.
The project, which has been in the works for years, is expected to be completed in 2023. It will be 14 miles offshore and consist of a single concrete floating platform that supports a 10–12 megawatt wind turbine, the university said Wednesday.
The university’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center will handle the design, engineering, research and development for the project and monitor it once it’s operating.
In addition to generating electricity that will be sent to the Maine grid, the project is meant to help the university evaluate the floating technology so as to demonstrate how future offshore wind projects can coexist with other marine activities, University of Maine spokesperson Margaret Nagle said.
“An immediate priority for the new development team is to engage with the fishing industry, other maritime users, coastal communities and other interested parties on how to ensure this new renewable energy source can optimally provide economic growth to Maine and work with maritime industries,” Nagle said.
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Where are the interviews with opponents?
............The terms, initially forged in 2013, require CMP residential customers to pay 23 cents per kilowatt-hour in the first year (at least three times above market value) and incrementally more each year thereafter, reaching 35 cents after 20 years. ......................
Gov. Janet Mills, who campaigned to replace LePage on a platform that included more focus on renewable energy, announced Wednesday that Maine is joining New Hampshire and Massachusetts on a regional task force related to renewable energy activities in federal waters in the Gulf of Maine.
“This new public-private partnership joins world-class offshore wind developers and the University of Maine, and puts us on track to be home to the nation’s first floating offshore wind project, reflecting the major economic growth opportunity of the clean energy economy,” Mills said in a prepared statement. “I am pleased this project is moving forward, and encouraged by the partners’ strong commitment to work collaboratively with Maine fishermen to protect and support our traditional industries as we chart a greener future for our state.”
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Maine’s high court wrestled on Wednesday with arguments in a lawsuit aiming to stop a November vote on a question aiming to kill Central Maine Power’s controversial hydropower corridor proposal that could have major implications for the project’s path.
At stake is more than the $1 billion project and a high-dollar campaign being waged against the possibly unconstitutional referendum by CMP and Hydro-Quebec, the province-owned utility. The case tests the power of Mainers to overrule state regulators and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s typical unwillingness to wade into political disputes during an election.
Avangrid, CMP’s parent company, filed a lawsuit in May against Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, seeking to stop his office from putting the question to kill the corridor proposal on the 2020 ballot, arguing that it violates a separation of powers provision in the Maine Constitution......................
In oral arguments on Wednesday before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Avangrid attorney John Aromando said that choosing to not weigh in on the question prior to the November election would be a failure on the court’s part. He implored judges not to take “cede an important constitutional function of the judiciary to the legislative branch.”
“It is impossible to overstate how important it is for this court to decline that invitation,” he said.
Judges, however, questioned why the courts should take away people’s right to vote on a measure aiming to compel the Legislature to act. They also probed how Dunlap’s office could allow the question to go forward even if he thought it was unconstitutional.
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