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Maine PUC Puts Statoil Off-Shore Wind Pilot Project on Hold
10/05/2012 01:45 PM ET  

State utility regulators say they want more assurances from Statoil about the long-term benefits of the four-turbine pilot project.

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Originally Aired: 10/5/2012 12:00 PM

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.



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