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Legislators may keep Maine state waters windfarm-free

Under changes to be finalized today at the committee's 2nd worksession on the bill. the "An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Governor's Ocean Energy Task Force" will focus Maine instead on constructing floating deepwater windmills on land, and then deploying them at locations ten miles offshore and further.

Augusta --Instead of opening Maine state waters to windfarm leasing, the legislature's Committee on Utilities and Energy is redrafting controversial ocean windfarm bill LD 1810 to do the very opposite.

Under changes to be finalized today at the committee's 2nd worksession on the bill. the "An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Governor's Ocean Energy Task Force" will focus Maine instead on constructing floating deepwater windmills on land, and then deploying them at locations ten miles offshore and further.

"We want to build like Bath Ironworks does: build it in a drydock, float the drydock, and tow the whole thing out to deep water." Dr. Habib Dagher told the committee at their Thursday work session.

Dagher leads the University of Maine's offshore wind energy project, and has gained more than 20 million dollars in federal funding to move ahead on the ambitious project to site windmills a minimum of ten miles from the Maine shore or inhabited islands.

The original plan to open state waters... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Augusta -- Instead of opening Maine state waters to windfarm leasing, the legislature's Committee on Utilities and Energy is redrafting controversial ocean windfarm bill LD 1810 to do the very opposite.

Under changes to be finalized today at the committee's 2nd worksession on the bill. the "An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Governor's Ocean Energy Task Force" will focus Maine instead on constructing floating deepwater windmills on land, and then deploying them at locations ten miles offshore and further.

"We want to build like Bath Ironworks does: build it in a drydock, float the drydock, and tow the whole thing out to deep water." Dr. Habib Dagher told the committee at their Thursday work session.

Dagher leads the University of Maine's offshore wind energy project, and has gained more than 20 million dollars in federal funding to move ahead on the ambitious project to site windmills a minimum of ten miles from the Maine shore or inhabited islands.

The original plan to open state waters with windfarm leasing was bitterly opposed by Maine's lobstering, scalloping and groundfish communities. The revision would limit energy leasing in state waters to power cable rights of way.

The Maine Lobstermens Association has voiced support for the plan:

"We wholeheartedly support this offshore development," the Asssociation's executive director Patrice McCarron told the committee late last week. "Obviously it passes by the majority of where my stakeholders make their living. So that's a no-brainer."

She urged the committee, however, to modify the legislative findings of the bill to clarify "that this is the state's goal: to pass over this existing technology in state waters, and really focus where the wind resources are greatest. Those are strictly legislative findings" McCarron acknowledged, "but for me it really sets the tone for the values and the goals of the state, and I'd like to look at potentially strengthening that and clarifying what the true intention of this is."

Professor Dagher offered a timeline for getting deepwater wind energy going off Maine. "Our goal is build our first demonstration floating turbine - a third-scale turbine about 120 feet above the water - next year, and place it in the water the year after in the Monhegan site, Dagher said. "In 2013 we would build the first 4 or 5 megawatt unit, In 2014 and 2015, a 25 megawatt farm."

He predicted that offshore wind would keep growing: " The next phase is development of a large scale 500 to 1,000 megawatt farm. We have at least one developer interested to do that and have it operational in 2020"

The Utility and Energy Committee meets for final review of LD 1810 at 1pm today, in room 211 of the Cross State Office building.

Listen to audio recordings from the 3/18/10 worksession on LD1811 .


Source: http://www.maineville.com/d...

MAR 23 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/25324-legislators-may-keep-maine-state-waters-windfarm-free
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