New Energy Funding Bill Backs Maine Offshore Wind

The U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations has advanced the fiscal year 2020 energy and water funding bill, which includes support for the Aqua Ventus demonstration offshore wind project.

The legislation, advanced by a vote of 31-0, includes provisions led by Senator Susan Collins to support several R&D projects at the University of Maine (UMaine), including the Aqua Ventus floating wind project.

The FY 2020 energy and water funding bill provides USD 48.86 billion, an increase of circa USD 4 billion from the 2019 enacted level, from which a total of USD 100 million is for wind energy, with USD 50 million specifically directed for offshore wind.

The bill includes an additional USD 10 million for two offshore wind demonstration projects, including UMaine’s Aqua Ventus. To ensure the project’s success, an additional 18 months of time was provided.

The legislation also supports USD 4 million for the additive manufacturing of large wind blades, which UMaine’s new 3D printer will be able to print the molds for.

“This is outstanding news for renewable ocean energy research and development for Maine and for the country.  This funding will ensure that Maine and the U.S. will continue to lead in developing offshore wind technology, mitigate climate change, and create thousands of green energy jobs,” said Habib Dagher, Executive Director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

“Harnessing just three percent of the Gulf of Maine offshore wind resource is enough to heat every home in Maine and convert every car into electricity, allowing us to keep more than $3 billion per year in Maine.”

Maine Aqua Ventus will deploy two 6MW turbines on VolturnUS, the floating concrete semi-submersible hull designed by the UMaine. The 12MW project is expected to be installed in 2020 south of Monhegan Island.

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