Maine Technology Institute Funds MCA to Expand Maine’s Ocean and Wind Energy Cluster (USA)


The Maine Composites Alliance (MCA) announces today that it has been selected by the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) to receive an award of $489,468 in collaboration with the Maine Wind Industry Initiative and the E2Tech Council to organize, promote and expand Maine’s ocean and wind energy cluster.

“This award will help Maine industries participate in the supply chain to service the on-shore and off-shore wind and hydrokinetic ocean energy development that’s taking place throughout the northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada,” stated Steve Von Vogt, Executive Director of MCA. MCA and its partners also raised $660,781 as a cash contribution and $107,593 in in-kind contributions in order to qualify for the MTI grant.

Over the past decade, Maine has made concerted efforts to build upon its core composites capabilities through investments in research and development via its academic institutions and support for its industries innovating in the development and use of new building materials. These investments include:

• Major investments in University of Maine Advanced Composites and Structures Lab (AEWC), an applied research facility focused on use of composites, from Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research EPSCoR, US Department of Energy (DOE), US Department of Defense (DoD), the MTI, and the State of Maine.

• MTI has made significant investments in composite companies such as the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC), Harbor Technologies and Kenway Corporation.

• A major investment by US Department of Labor through the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development Initiative (WIRED) in the composites, marine and boatbuilding industries.

Maine is bearing fruit from these investments as the skills of the composite cluster are meeting new demands in transportation infrastructure, textiles, aeronautics, and now most notably in ocean and wind energy. Important new initiatives resulting in job creation include:

• The development of two new composite bridge technologies that compete successfully on cost with traditional materials but that are less expensive to install and superior in terms of performance.

• The development and deployment of the largest full-scale pre-production composite tidal energy device in the United States.

• The selection of Maine for the manufacture of a new, completely composite airplane.

• The emergence of Maine as the national leader in floating offshore energy development, including a federal investment of over $40M in the DeepCwind consortium. In addition, an offer under new legislation, LD 1810 Power Purchase Agreement, the Maine Public Utilities Commission will solicit bids in the fall of 2010 for 25 MW of offshore energy at a fixed price for 20 years.

“We congratulate the Maine Composites Alliance on this award,” added Betsy Biemann, President of Maine Technology Institute. “MTI’s Cluster Initiative Program works across Maine with industry to help companies and organizations within a particular industry sector come together to create scale and help the whole industry grow. We look forward to seeing the progress of this industry cluster as they work on promoting and expanding Maine’s ocean and wind energy cluster nationally and internationally and by doing so, create good jobs across Maine.”

Von Vogt states, “The key challenge in many of these efforts is bringing together assets into an efficiently coordinated supply chain. The MTI award will support MCA’s effort to address immediate unmet needs in the ocean and wind energy cluster and expand the lessons and solutions developed through other composite dependent sectors.”



Source: mainecompositesalliance, April 28, 2011; Image: deepcwind