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October 17, 2017

St. George residents oppose Monhegan wind project cable

File photo / James McCarthy
File photo / James McCarthy
Habib Dagher, director of UMaine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center, in front of the VolturnUS prototype wind turbine deployed off the shores of Castine in 2014. A full-scale pilot of two 6 megawatt wind turbines mounted on floating platforms is slated for installation off Monhegan Island in 2019, or possibly 2020.

An organization calling itself "Preserve Our Remarkable Town" has collected more than 300 signatures from residents of St. George for a petition opposing the Maine Aqua Ventus pilot offshore wind project slated for development off Monhegan Island.

The Bangor Daily News reported the petition is designed to prevent cables delivering electricity from the project to the mainland from passing through St. George, in response to residents' concerns that the project will harm the local fishing industry and undermine quality of life, property values and local tourism.

Jeff Thaler, project counsel for Aqua Ventus, told the BDN the offshore cable for the pilot project is proposed in an existing cable right of way where fishing is already prohibited.

"Fishing, both ground fishing and lobster fishing, is the concern over and over," PORT co-founder Evy Blum told the BDN.

Construction of the floating platforms and installation of two 6-megawatt wind turbines two-and-a-half miles off Monhegan Island is expected to occur sometime in 2019, with the turbines expected to start producing power by 2020.

The University of Maine, which is leading a consortium of Maine companies, including Cianbro, in the development of the Aqua Ventus pilot project, has cited studies showing Maine's offshore wind potential to be a higher-quality resource than most parts of the United States, with more than 156 gigawatts or 156,000 megawatts of potential renewable wind power waiting to be harnessed.

The Gulf of Maine's proximity to New England population centers with high demand for electricity also is seen as a positive factor in the development of Maine's offshore wind potential.

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