Statoil North America, which is a subsidiary of a European energy company, has applied for approval to place the turbines on leased ocean grounds as a pilot project that would begin in 2016. The company held open houses this summer in coastal Maine towns to get public input. Public sentiment was generally supportive of the Norwegian company’s proposal to erect four wind turbines about 12 to 14 miles off the coast of Boothbay Harbor. The turbines would produce 12 megawatts of electricity.
The federal government is moving forward with normal procedures to determine if there are competing interests following Statoil’s proposal for the deep-water floating wind turbine pilot project. If there are no competing interests, then the government will proceed with an environmental impact study. Statoil has been working with the composites laboratory at the University of Maine to improve their offshore wind floating turbines and share research. The initiative was supported by Governor John Bladacci, and Secretary of the Department of Energy Stephen Chu. The research and development effort has been and continues to be spearheaded by Dr. Habib Dagher of UMaine.
Statoil, which calls its project “Hywind Maine,” is also seeking permission to connect to the ISO New England power grid.
Sen. Olympia Snowe says she’s encouraged by the development. She says offshore wind projects have “the potential to bring jobs, and ultimately clean energy, to Mainers.”