In a 2-1 vote Tuesday, the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a term sheet for the 12 MW Maine Aqua Ventus offshore wind pilot project. The UMaine-led consortium, also including construction services provider Cianbro and Nova Scotia utility Emera, proposes to develop two floating wind turbines in the Gulf of Maine.
The term sheet lays out the provisions of a potential long-term power purchase agreement between Maine Aqua Ventus and Central Maine Power. The Maine regulators signed off on a $0.23/kWh price tag and will need to review and approve any final contract.Â
The term sheet signals a big step forward for Maine Aqua Ventus, one of seven U.S. offshore wind projects that won Department of Energy funding in December 2012. The projects are now competing for three follow-up grants.
This is not the first time the Maine PUC approved a term sheet for an offshore wind project. Early last year, the regulators approved one for Statoil, which had won a request for proposals (RFP) and planned to build its own 12 MW offshore wind pilot project in the state. However, Gov. Paul R. LePage, R-Maine, and other critics spoke out against the deal's rates. The state legislature later ordered the PUC to halt contract negotiations and reissue an RFP, which Maine Aqua Ventus answered and won.
Citing uncertainty and regulatory issues, Statoil announced in October 2013 that it was abandoning its Hywind project.