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Response to St. George Sentiment on MAV Project

Contact: Joshua Plourde, Maine Aqua Ventus
jp@maineaquaventus.com           (207) 907-0069

We respect the St. George select board’s current position.  We will continue to be a source of clear and consistent information about Maine Aqua Ventus (MAV) so the public and their representatives can make informed judgments on the project.

MAV is leading a small floating offshore wind pilot project to test a clean, renewable energy source off Maine’s shores. This pilot project will deploy only two 6 MW floating turbines 2.5 miles south of Monhegan Island.  The town of Monhegan voted unanimously (40-0) in November to accept a Community Benefits Agreement with MAV.  A subsea cable will transport the power to the mainland. Lessons learned from this two turbine deployment will inform any future development in the Gulf of Maine.

MAV and UMaine have no current plans to pursue a large-scale commercial offshore wind farm. Fishermen and other stakeholders are invited as key partners to participate in all aspects of this two-turbine demonstration project so we can collectively learn and build a better future for all people of Maine.

The purpose of the project is to evaluate the University of Maine’s award-winning floating concrete hull technology at full scale and develop best practices for coexistence with marine users so that future wind projects farther offshore can minimize impacts to fisheries and fishermen.  MAV is committed to installing the cable to the mainland in such a manner as to have no measurable impact on fishing from this project.  The electric cable from the project to the electric grid would be less than six (6) inches in diameter and would be buried below the seabed and under land where feasible until interconnected with the Central Maine Power Grid.

State law prohibits the use of mobile fishing gear over charted cable ways, but MAV is working diligently with state and federal agencies to allow fishing over the cable with both mobile and fixed fishing gear. This is standard practice over several subsea cables in the state and throughout the U.S. MAV is committed to working with the fishing community to minimize potential impacts and to install the cable in such a manner where fishing could be permitted by the State. In this scenario, there is no measurable impact on fishing from this project. MAV plans to conduct a geophysical survey of the cable route in early 2018 to verify the total amount of burial possible.

The project must comply with all local, state, and federal permitting requirements which are thorough and rigorous.

As the marine environment continues to experience adverse impacts related to climate change, developing feasible technologies to replace carbon-based energy generation is increasingly important. The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of the world’s oceans.

UMaine has been working to develop a Maine-grown floating offshore wind technology for more than a decade that, once proven at full scale, could be used for commercial developments in more than 70% of the U.S. offshore wind resource areas.

UMaine’s patented floating turbine technology was the winner of an exhaustive 5-year long national competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, and Maine is now home to a national test program to keep the U.S. ahead of the world in this growing renewable energy field.  Other countries such as Japan, France, Scotland, Norway, Portugal and Germany are developing their own demonstration projects for floating offshore wind, and Maine is the only floating US demonstration project at this time.

This project is limited to two turbines by state law, and no additional turbines will be added.  The subsea cable’s capacity is sized to support the two turbines. UMaine has committed to restricting use of its floating turbine technology in any future commercial projects to outside 15 miles from the Monhegan Island Lobster Conservation Zone and 10 miles from any inhabited Maine islands or coastline.

For further information, please visit the project’s website:  maineaquaventus.com.

Contact: Joshua Plourde, Maine Aqua Ventus
jp@maineaquaventus.com           (207) 907-0069