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January 22, 2018

Maine Aqua Ventus scraps Port Clyde as mainland link to grid

Courtesy / Maine Aqua Ventus
Courtesy / Maine Aqua Ventus
An illustration showing how power generated by two 6 megawatt floating wind turbines off Monhegan Island would be transmitted via an undersea cable to connect with the Central Maine Power Co. grid on the mainland. The project led by the University of Maine has decided against making the link at Port Clyde on the St. George peninsula and is looking at least two top alternatives.

The Maine Aqua Ventus pilot wind energy project has ruled out Port Clyde as the location where the project's transmission cable would link to the mainland from the test site off Monhegan Island.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Jake Ward, vice president for innovation and economic development at the University of Maine, said Friday that the cable route to Port Clyde was scrapped due to lobstermen's concerns that they'd be prohibited from fishing in the charted cableway route once the cable was installed from two 6-megawatt offshore wind turbines that will be installed two-and-a-half miles offshore Monhegan Island.

Ward said the UMaine-led Aqua Ventus consortium had identified 11 other possible routes and was evaluating the two that are seen as the top prospects.

"We continue to work with fishermen, communities and regulators to find an optimum cable route," Ward told the BDN.

A collaboration between UMaine, Cianbro, the Advanced Structures and Composites Center, Naval Energies and 25 other partners, Maine Aqua Ventus is a demonstration project that will deploy two 6 MW turbines on VolturnUS, the floating concrete semi-submersible hull designed by UMaine, in waters south of Monhegan Island.

Earlier this month the three-person Maine Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously against giving final approval to the project's proposed 20-year contract to sell electricity to Central Maine Power Co., citing the drop in electricity prices that's occurred since its 2014 preliminary approval of proposed terms for the agreement.

Tony Buxton, a lawyer representing the project told Maine Public at that time that the project's partners would work with the PUC and CMP to come up with a new proposal for the 20-year power purchase contract.

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