Sens. Collins, King welcome DOE official to UMaine Composites Center, media report

News Center Maine, WVII (Channel 7) and WABI (Channel 5) reported U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King joined officials from the Maine governor’s office in welcoming Daniel Simmons, Department of Energy (DOE) assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, to the University of Maine. Simmons toured the 100,000-square-foot Advanced Structures and Composites Center and its innovations under development, including 3D-printed bio-derived recyclable construction materials, lightweight composite bridge technologies and next-generation floating wind turbines. “One percent of the Gulf of Maine is as good as a nuclear power plant in terms of wind,” Habib Dagher, executive director of UMaine’s Composites Center, told News Center Maine. “Our goal at the university is to bring that energy back home cost effectively, so we can keep our energy dollars in Maine.” There is an international race to design and deploy floating wind turbines, and UMaine’s VolturnUS design has won $40 million from the DOE to build the 12-megawatt Aqua Ventus I demonstration project. “We are not working with the University of Maine on offshore wind because it’s easy, but because it is a real challenge,” Simmons said. Project leaders told WVII they hope to have a turbine in the water in 2022. King and Collins also published a joint news release about the visit.