Maine offshore wind pilot project joins DOE’s demonstration program

New England Aqua Ventus I, which had previously been selected as an alternate, now is in contention for full $40 million award.

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Maine’s New England Aqua Ventus I offshore wind pilot project, designed by a University of Maine-led consortium, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to participate in the Offshore Wind Advanced Technology Demonstration program. 

New England Aqua Ventus I will now be one of up to three leading projects that are each eligible for up to $39.9 million in additional funding over three years for the construction phase of the demonstration program.

In May 2014, the DOE announced that the New England Aqua Ventus project had been selected as an alternate for the Offshore Wind Advanced Technology Demonstration Program and was awarded $3 million for continued design and engineering development.

In November 2015, DOE said that it would provide an additional $3.7 million to UMaine, under a contract that will soon be finalized, to continue the development tasks. The award brought total funding for the New England Aqua Ventus project on par with the previously selected demonstration projects that were awarded $6.7 million each.

In April 2016, the New England Aqua Ventus I project was reviewed by DOE to be eligible for $39.9 million toward construction of the demonstration project. Over 70 reports were submitted to the DOE.

That review lead to the decision announced to upgrade the UMaine project.

The company formed to build the commercial-sized demonstration project is Maine Aqua Ventus I GP, LLC. Initially assembled by UMaine, this global consortium has formed a collaborative leadership team to develop, construct and operate this offshore wind project. It is expected that more than 25 other organizations will contribute to the project success.

The announcement is a “game changer for floating offshore wind in the U.S.,” said Habib Dagher, executive director of the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center that has led the effort.