"With some of the strongest and most consistent winds in the nation off our coast, Maine has great potential as an ideal location for deepwater offshore wind research," said Senator Collins. "Having deepwater, offshore wind production, out-of-sight from land, could provide a source of clean, renewable energy directly to the country's population centers on the coast while creating some 15,000 new jobs in our state."
"This is a critical step, and it is the result of Sen. Collins' determination and her commitment to Maine," says Prof. Habib Dagher, director of UMaine's AEWC Advanced Structures and Composites Center and the lead researcher on this project.
Senator Collins is a long-time supporter of the Maine Deepwater Offshore Wind Initiative at UMaine, and she has championed this project at the federal level. Last month, at Senator Collins' invitation, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited UMaine. Following the visit, the Department of Energy announced that it has agreed to dedicate $20 million to develop and test deepwater offshore wind technologies-the first time ever that the Department has dedicated specific funding for deepwater offshore wind energy research and development. Given its significant work and advancements in research in this area, the University of Maine is well positioned to receive this funding. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins is working to ensure that the lion's share of these funds go to UMaine.
The Senate Appropriations Committee's approval today of $10 million for UMaine is a significant step toward securing the full $20 million investment for deepwater offshore wind research for fiscal year 2011, promised by the Energy Department. It was approved yesterday by an Appropriations Subcommittee, and must now be approved by the full Senate. Similar legislation in the House does not include funding for this project.
To date, Senator Collins has successfully secured a total of $25 million for Maine's Deepwater Offshore Wind Initiative.