AUGUSTA — A U.S. Senate committee has approved $10 million in funding for the University of Maine’s development, deployment and testing of offshore wind turbines.

Sen. Susan Collins says the Appropriations Committee approved her request.

The Maine Republican said Thursday that the committee’s action is a significant step toward securing the full $20 million investment for deepwater offshore wind research for fiscal year 2011 sought by the Energy Department. The funding must now be approved by the full Senate. Similar legislation in the House does not include funding for the project.

Collins says Maine has great potential for deepwater offshore wind research.