Norway’s Statoil pulls $120M wind project in Maine
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Norwegian company Statoil announced on Tuesday that it’s abandoning a $120 million proposal to put four wind turbines 12 miles (19.3 kilometers) off the coast of Maine.
The company said in a statement that changes in terms with the state and scheduling delays “made the project outlook too uncertain to proceed.” Statoil says it’s now focusing on pursuing a project in Scotland that it also has been working on for the last three years.
The company put the project on hold in July after Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration pushed to reopen the competitive bidding process to allow the University of Maine to bid. LePage said Statoil’s project would put too much of a burden on ratepayers and that Maine’s flagship university should be allowed to compete.
An Associated Press review of documents found that the administration had initially floated “a much more aggressive effort to explicitly void” Statoil’s agreement. In effect, the state would limit the amount that home and business owners would pay for the project to about half of what Statoil had proposed.
But renewable energy officials and environmental groups have said losing Statoil’s investment would be a huge blow to Maine’s ability to cultivate an offshore wind industry.
Trine Ulla, head of business development for Floating Wind in Statoil, said that Statoil will continue exploring the U.S. offshore wind market despite its decision to leave Maine.
“The US holds several locations with good wind conditions, deep waters and proximity to load centers,” she said in a statement.