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October 15, 2013

Statoil scuttles offshore Hywind Maine project

Norwegian energy company Statoil has scuttled its plans for a $120 million pilot offshore wind project in Maine, turning its focus instead to a similar project in Scotland.

The company said in a statement that "Changes in the framework conditions in the state, uncertainty around the commercial framework, and the schedule implications of project delays made the [Hywind Maine] project outlook too uncertain to proceed."

The Portland Press Herald reported company officials said a law proposed by Gov. Paul LePage and passed by the Legislature was a key factor in the company's decision.

The company announced in July that it planned to put its offshore wind farm in Maine on hold until it reviewed a law it said created uncertainty that the Hywind project could receive ratepayer support. The bill, LD 1472, reopened bidding with the Maine Public Utilities Commission to allow a University of Maine offshore wind power pilot project also to vie for eventual ratepayer support.

Trine Ulla, head of business development for Floating Wind in Statoil, said in a prepared statement that the company continues to seek options in the United States for offshore wind projects, saying the country "holds several locations with good wind conditions, deep waters and proximity to load centers."

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