Regulators delay power contract for offshore wind project

January 9, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine regulators on Tuesday delayed action on a long-term power contract for an offshore wind pilot project led by the University of Maine.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission cited changing energy markets for delaying a contract between Maine Aqua Ventus and Central Maine Power Co., and ordered more public comment to be taken before a final decision is made.

The panel contends the nation’s energy outlook has changed since 2014 when initial approval was given to a proposed “term sheet.”

“The intent of the statute is to develop a technology that is going to be commercially viable without subsidy,” says Chairman Mark Vannoy.

Aqua Ventus counsel Anthony Buxton said the project near Monhegan Island remains viable and the electricity target price will be competitive if the project reaches commercial scale.

Buxton said millions of dollars have been spent on the demonstration project and the University of Maine-designed floating wind turbines are critical to the state’s economy, with the potential to create thousands of jobs if the project is successful.

Aqua Ventus will work with the commission and CMP to come up with a new plan that works for all parties, he said.

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