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February 23, 2011 | last updated December 1, 2011 11:37 am

UMaine report targets offshore wind bids

The University of Maine is hoping a new report issued yesterday will entice energy firms to build an offshore wind pilot project in the Gulf of Maine.

The university is the lead organization in the DeepCwind Consortium, established in 2009 by a U.S. Department of Energy grant to explore offshore wind development. Yesterday, UMaine explored the details of the 557-page report, funded through $1 million in U.S. DOE money, at a presentation that drew about 40 attendees and as many as 300 people to a live webcast, the Bangor Daily News reported. The report details the economic and policy matters surrounding offshore wind development, as well as technical details, summaries of construction sites and permitting and project development issues, and finds that an offshore wind development could generate electricity at rates of 8-10 cents a kilowatt hour by 2020, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Habib Dagher, head of UMaine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center, says a number of energy and wind power developers took part in the presentation, including New Jersey-based Bluewater Wind and Fishermen's Energy, Deepwater Wind of Rhode Island, General Electric, Cianbro and Statoil of Norway, the only known firm to have installed a floating turbine prototype.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission last September issued a request for proposals for an up to 30-megawatt offshore wind project, with a May 1 deadline for submissions. Dagher told the paper he hopes the report will convince at least one company to submit a formal proposal to the PUC.

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