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On Tuesday, the three-member Maine Public Utilities Commission — all appointees of Gov. Paul R. LePage — voted unanimously to reopen the previously approved 2014 terms for a power purchase contract between the Maine Aqua Ventus offshore wind pilot project and Central Maine Power. PUC Chairman Mark Vannoy, in an hour-long detailed analysis of why the commission should reconsider terms of the 20-year contract, said there've been enough changes in the past four years to warrant taking another look at the Maine Aqua Ventus term sheet. Among those he cited: Significantly lower wholesale electricity prices than four years ago; the recent emergence of large offshore wind projects in Massachusetts and Rhode Island that could change the long-term market potential for Maine's still-emerging offshore wind industry; and the replacement of one of Maine Aqua Ventus' original partners, Emera Inc., by a French energy company Naval Energies. Lawyers for the University of Maine-led Aqua Ventus consortium told Mainebiz in late April that reopening the 2014 term sheet could result in the project losing $37 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding, putting at risk the opportunity to prove Aqua Ventus' patented floating hull technology as a viable option for deep-water projects. They also said it would send a strong negative message to both outside and in-state investors that the Maine PUC can't be trusted to stand by its policy decisions.
Do you agree with the PUC’s decision to reopen the terms of the 2014 Maine Aqua Ventus power purchase contract with CMP?
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