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Maine's Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has reissued a request for proposals (RFP) for deepwater offshore wind pilot projects. The PUC's reissuance opens the door for the DeepCWind Consortium, led by the University of Maine, to begin preparing a bid that will include its 12 MW Aqua Ventus 1 project designed with floating turbines.

In 2012, the PUC issued an RFP for up to 30 MW of installed capacity and associated renewable energy. The PUC was authorized to provide one or more contracts to demonstration projects.

On Dec. 21, 2012, the PUC approved a long-term contract for Ocean Renewable Power Co.'s 5 MW tidal energy demonstration project. On Feb. 26, the PUC approved a term sheet for a long-term contract for a 12 MW deep-water offshore wind energy pilot project from Statoil's Hywind Maine project. A final contract has not been approved. And earlier this month, Statoil put the project on hold citing risk and uncertainty.

Elizabeth Viselli, manager of offshore wind programs and global communications for the University of Maine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center, says that during the last legislative session, "special language" was added to the supplemental RFP, which allowed the university to respond to the RFP.

According to the legislation, "The University of Maine's deepwater offshore wind energy pilot project must be considered a deep water offshore wind energy pilot project under this section. The commission shall make all reasonable efforts to complete its review of proposals under competitive solicitation conducted pursuant to this paragraph and make decisions on additional proposals by Dec. 31."

According to the filing, Central Maine Power Co., Bangor Hydro-Electric or Maine Public Service will purchase the output. Bids are due Sept. 1.

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