Maine PUC, UMaine Urged to Make Offshore Wind Proposal Public (USA)

Maine PUC, UMaine Urged to Make Offshore Wind Proposal Public (USA)

Environment Northeast and the Conservation Law Foundation sent a letter to the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in which they are urging the authority and the University of Maine (UMaine) to make the Maine offshore wind project’s plan public now and then to decide its advantages by December 31, the Portland Press Herald reports.

The two environmental groups made this move after UMaine declined to make the documents of its proposal public. Conservation Law Foundation and Portland Press Herald have filed Freedom of Access Act requests with UMaine and the PUC, in order to access the documents and see the details of the proposal.

In their letter, the groups stated that the public should know the project’s benefits and shortcomings in comparison with Statoil’s Hywind Maine project, which had been approved earlier and then suspended.

The University of Maine submitted a bid for its floating offshore wind project to the PUC on August 30, and a new company was formed as a developer, called Maine Aqua Ventus I GP LLC. The PUC has until the end of the year to determine whether to authorize a long-term contract for UMaine.

The Maine PUC reopened the bidding process for an offshore wind project in the state’s waters in July, following the approval of a bill earlier that month, which is aimed at giving a chance to the U Maine to build its floating offshore wind farm.

In January, the PUC gave the go-ahead to Statoil’s Hywind Maine project, which includes the deployment of four floating wind turbines 12 miles southeast of Boothbay Harbor. As a consequence of the latest legislative changes, Statoil informed PUC that it is putting the project on hold, saying that the reopening of the bidding process created an uncertain environment for the company to proceed with the development.


Offshore WIND Staff, September 18, 2013; Image: UMaine