Senators Collins and King Announce $3.7 million for Maine Aqua Ventus I pilot Offshore Wind Project

Washington, DC – Senators Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Angus King, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced today that the Department of Energy (DOE) will award an additional $3.7 million to the Maine Aqua Ventus I offshore wind project, designed by a University of Maine-led consortium.  This investment is part of the Offshore Wind Advanced Technology Demonstration Project program and builds on the $3 million awarded to the project in May 2014, bringing the award for UMaine to $6.7 million, the same amount awarded to the second phase demonstration projects.  
 
      “We are thrilled that the Department of Energy continues to recognize the enormous potential of the Aqua Ventus project and its innovative deepwater, offshore wind technology. With this additional investment of $3.7 million, the Aqua Ventus project will be on a level playing field with the other demonstration projects and competitive for potentially advancing to the construction phase of the demonstration program,” said Collins and King in a joint statement.  “Under the leadership of the University of Maine and a world-class consortium, the Aqua Ventus project has made significant research and development strides to date, including completing the hull design and further demonstrating the cost advantages of concrete.   With additional funding, Aqua Ventus will be able to complete their engineering and design work and address any remaining technical questions. 
 
      "This extraordinary investment is proof that the DOE recognizes what we have long known: that the Gulf of Maine is a tremendous resource for wind energy that could provide an affordable source of renewable energy directly to the country’s population centers on the East Coast, while creating thousands of new jobs in Maine and diversifying the state’s electricity supply. We will continue to support the University of Maine as it participates in this demonstration program and to help ensure that Maine remains at the forefront of deepwater, offshore wind power development and innovation,”  the Senators continued. 
 
      “We are pleased that the Department of Energy decided to award the University of Maine an additional $3.7Million to put the New England Aqua Ventus I Demonstration project on financial par with the other offshore Wind demonstration projects,” said Professor Habib Dagher, Director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center and Principal Investigator of the DeepCwind Consortium. “We continue to make significant progress by demonstrating the technical and cost reduction advantages of the VolturnUS floating concrete offshore wind technology.  Our team is busy putting the final touches on the design of the 6 MW hulls for the 12 MW demonstration project.  The additional funding will help us complete all aspects of the project planning, negotiate supply contracts with industrial partners, and approach financial close for the project.  The UMaine VolturnUS technology has important national impact as it allows us to more cost effectively access  over 50% of the US offshore wind resource in deep waters within 50 miles of the coast, and creates local and regional jobs as the hulls can be produced near the project site.”
 
      All projects will have until May 1 to meet additional milestones, but the UMaine project and the other selected alternate are the only projects receiving additional DOE funding.  Decisions about which projects to advance will be made by the DOE on May 31.