ORONO — Interior Ken Salazar is getting a first-hand look at deep-water wind research in Maine that Sen. Susan Collins calls the “real deal.”

Salazar toured the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center today to learn more about testing, deployment, fabrication and environmental monitoring of the off-shore wind turbines.

UMaine leads the DeepCWind Consortium, which includes nonprofits, utilities, businesses involved in offshore and marine design and construction, and firms with expertise in wind project siting.

Collins, who accompanied Salazar, told reporters that the research is the “real deal” and that the UMaine is “ahead of everyone else.”

A one-third scale turbine is scheduled for deployment next July off Monhegan Island. Full-size turbines will be about the size of the Washington Monument.