Statoil's plans to establish a four-turbine floating wind farm off the Maine coast have been dealt a setback.
The Norwegian energy giant last December proposed building America's first floating wind farm in the deep waters off mid-coast Maine. It would initially be a pilot project, but hopes are that it would lead to a large-scale operation, producing enough energy for 300,000 homes.
These are just hopes at the moment though. The state's Public Utilities Commission is concerned about the short-term costs to Maine of the pilot project. "If you just look at the pilot itself, Maine is paying a great deal for gaining this experience," says PUC Chair Tom Welch.
The estimated cost to Maine ratepayers, he says, will be around $10 million a year. Welch says he wants assurances from Statoil that the state will reap some long-term economic benefits from the pilot project. The PUC is now awaiting a response from Statoil.
This story was reported by Tom Porter.