This month, the Maine Public Utilities Commission will decide whether or not to reopen a draft term sheet it awarded to Maine Aqua Ventus in 2014 for a two-turbine offshore wind farm that would prove out the University of Maine’s VolturnUS floating concrete hull technology at full scale.

If the PUC decides to reopen the term sheet, the project will not proceed; a clear message will be sent internationally that Maine is not open for business, and future investments will not be made in the state of Maine. This would be a tremendous loss for all of us.

Internationally, 11 countries have aggressive investments in offshore wind power.

I firmly believe that, once proven, UMaine’s VolturnUS floating concrete hull technology will provide tremendous economic and employment potential in Maine and significant offshore wind development can proceed in federal waters off the coast of Maine.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and others report that UMaine’s technology, once scaled up, projects producing power for less than $0.077 per kilowatt-hour. This two-turbine demonstration project is a vital step – and a necessary and important investment – toward bringing the cost of offshore wind down to this highly competitive rate.

Similarly, the laboratory claims in its recent report, “An Assessment of the Economic Potential of Offshore Wind in the United States from 2015 to 2030,” that Maine has a greater available capacity (about 65 gigawatts) with unsubsidized economic potential than any other state along the East Coast. By 2027, it will have significant net value. Maine’s offshore wind resource has the greatest economic potential in the U.S. for unsubsidized offshore wind development.

I’m eager to see significant offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine and our state well positioned to benefit from this development. The PUC should recognize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Maine and loudly proclaim its support.

David T. Edson


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