AUGUSTA - The University of Maine took another step Tuesday toward a future of offshore wind power.
Tuesday morning, the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved plans for the Maine Aqua Ventus' offshore wind pilot project.
The consortium, which includes Emera, Cianbro, and Maine Prime Technologies, has a long term vision of constructing a 500-megawatt wind farm in the Gulf of Maine... and Tuesday's 2-to-1 vote is key.
"It gives us an opportunity to show that we can sell this electricity, and that will directly affect our next round of activity," Jake Ward, Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development at UMaine, says. "That will be the Department of Energy grant which supports the Advanced Technology Demonstration Program."
The grant from the U.S. Department of Energy is expected to be awarded in May.
Long-term contract negotiations will soon begin between Maine Aqua Ventus and Central Maine Power.
Tuesday's approval calls for a rate of 23 cents per kilowatt-hour.