Maine to get over $5 million for clean energy research

By Ramona du Houx - September 8th, 2011

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree says Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) and the engineering firm Stantec will get over $5 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) to help conduct new research to speed up the development of new offshore wind energy.

“Maine has already become a leader in developing offshore wind technology and this significant investment will get us closer to the day when we start developing new offshore wind projects off our coasts,” said Pingree. “Offshore wind power is a home grown source of energy that will create good paying jobs right here in Maine and help us end our dependence on oil.”

BRI, in Gorham, will get a $4.5 million federal grant to conduct new research on the movement of marine life in areas where new wind turbines could be built. The research is expected to streamline the permitting process and make it easier to develop new, offshore wind projects.

Pingree contacted the Department of Energy and urged them to support the work at BRI this summer.

“The research we are going to be able to do with this money is going to translate into more rapid development of offshore wind power projects,” said David Evers, President and CEO of BRI. “We hope to hire people later this month and get to work on this research right away. And we really appreciate the work that Congresswoman Pingree put into making this happen.”

Evers also stated that the research will help streamline the permitting process for offshore wind projects by providing the necessary data for developers and regulators to make the best science-based decisions.

Stantec in Topsham will recieve $600,000 from the DOE to develop new technology to monitor bird and bat activity around proposed offshore wind developments.

“The work that BRI and Stantec will be doing in Maine will create jobs to conduct the research and will also help build our growing offshore wind industry, which will be a source of good paying manufacturing jobs right here in Maine,” said Pingree.