A Norwegian energy giant's plans to establish America's first floating wind farm off the Maine coast have received a setback following a meeting yesterday of the Maine Public Utilities Commission. As Tom Porter reports, the PUC has put the project on hold pending a deeper look into its short-term costs to Maine.
Last December, Statoil proposed siting four floating wind turbines in the deep waters off mid-coast Maine. The so-called Hywind pilot project is planned to be up-and-running by 2016, producing enough power to meet the energy needs of about 6,500 homes.
Developers say it could eventually lead to a much larger scale commercial operation. But the PUC is concerned about the pilot project's short-term costs to Maine especially if the project fails to get beyond the pilot stage. Tom Welch is chairman of the PUC, speaks with Tom Porter about the project.
The PUC has tabled action on the proposal, and is awaiting a response from Statoil. Statoil North America spokesman Ola Morten Aanestad said in a written statement that the company was hoping for a different decision from the PUC so it could continue "maturing the project."
He says Statoil will now evaluate how it can proceed further. In addition to the Maine Hywind project, the company's also considering a floating wind farm off the coast of Scotland.