Gov. Mills signs bill to advance UMaine offshore wind project, media report

Gov. Janet Mills recently signed legislation directing the Public Utilities Commission to approve the contract for Maine Aqua Ventus, a first-of-its-kind wind project in the United States, the Portland Press Herald reported. “With the innovative work being done at the University of Maine, our state has the potential to lead the world in floating offshore wind development,” Mills said. “This long-overdue bill will move us in that direction.” The Maine Aqua Ventus project had been stalled at the PUC for more than a year, after the panel decided to reopen its power purchase contract, according to the article. The program is supported by $39.9 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy. The pilot project seeks to deploy two UMaine-designed floating turbines off Monhegan Island, the article states. Testifying on the measure, Jake Ward, UMaine’s vice president of innovation and economic development, said the developers’ VolturnUS technology is ready for full-scale demonstration and is “recognized as one of the leading floating platform technologies in the world,” The Free Press reported. Mainebiz, North American Windpower and Offshore Wind Journal also reported on the bill and Sun Journal carried the Press Herald article.