Maine Wind & Ocean News Wrap up for April-May '14

UMaine still committed to offshore wind project

The University of Maine and its partners remain committed to the Aqua Ventus 1 offshore wind project, despite coming up short Wednesday in the second round of U.S. Department of Energy's grants to advance emerging technologies for offshore wind energy. The DOE said the Maine project would receive $3 million in R&D funding. Offshore projects in New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon are slated to get $46.7 million grants over the next four years to help them achieve commercial operation by 2017.
Asked if the loss of the hoped-for $46.7 million in DOE funding put the Aqua Ventus project at risk of folding, Jake Ward, UMaine's vice president for innovation and economic development, told Mainebiz, "Absolutely not."
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Maine's largest wind project developer secures $400 million for Aroostook County project
Maine's largest wind power developer says it has secured finances for a $400 million project in Aroostook County.
First Wind says the Oakfield project is expected to produce 148 megawatts of renewable energy, or enough for about 50,000 homes. It says construction, which is anticipated to support 300 jobs, is on schedule.
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Within a diverse array of innovation, Baxter Academy triumphs at the Wind Blade Challenge
The 6th annual Maine Wind Blade Challenge featured innovative approaches by middle and high school students that pushed the limits of wind blade designs. At the end of the day, Baxter Academy won the competition with a unique mechanical variable blade pitch design, Brunswick Region 10 Team 1 and Thornton Academy placed second and third out of 39 registered Teams.
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Students take on a ‘challenge’ at SMCC
Southern Maine Community College students partnered with middle and high school students from Bath, Freeport and Portland on Friday to make wind blades at SMCC’s Midcoast Campus on the former Brunswick Naval Air Station in preparation for the fifth annual Maine Wind Blade Challenge.High school teams work with composites professionals to perfect their products and give them a firsthand look at composite-manufacturing operations.
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WindSTAR I/UCRC Approved!
The National Science Foundation has approved the Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) for Wind Energy, Science, Technology and Research (WindSTAR). 
The University of Massachusetts Lowell and University of Texas at Dallas will lead this Center and are collaborating with Iowa State University, Southern Maine Community College, the Kid-Wind Project, and the Maine Wind Industry Initiative. 
This new multi-disciplinary Center will help support the wind industry using state-of-the-art capabilities and expertise, train students, and foster a community of industry networking and collaboration. 
The team is seeking companies who may be interested in becoming members of WindSTAR.
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Maine AG to Probe Allegations Against Anti-Wind Group
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills will investigate allegations that two current board members of the group "Friends of Maine's Mountains" engaged in conflict of interest transactions and personally benefitted at the expense of the corporation.
The non-profit was formed in 2009 to oppose windpower development. According to a court order authorizing the investigation, two former board members raised allegations about Rand Stowell and Chris O'Neil in February.
ORPC Takes Another Step Forward with Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project
Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) has submitted its second annual environmental monitoring report for the Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The report details environmental data collected during the operation of ORPC’s grid-connected TidGen® Power System in Maine and concludes that no known adverse impacts were evidenced by the project’s comprehensive environmental monitoring program in 2013.
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Maine hears First Wind appeal
US developer First Wind faces an uphill battle with the proposed 48MW Bowers wind farm.
Maine environmental staff has recommended that regulators reaffirm denial of the 16-turbine scheme. First Wind is appealing a 2013 decision rejecting the project because it would compromise scenic views in the area.
The state Board of Environmental Protection is scheduled to vote on the appeal 1 May.
First Wind already cut the Bowers Mountain project from 27 turbines after it was denied by the now-defunct Land Use Planning Commission in 2011.
The developer proposes to employ either Siemens SWT-3.0-113 or Vestas V112 3MW turbines in the $100m scheme.
Another wind project, the 42MW Passadumkeag Mountain proposal by Quantum Utility Generation, was denied in 2012. However, the board overturned the decision in 2013.
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An appreciation for great trails: What snowmobilers, wind developers have in common
It’s been an amazing season for snowmobiling in Maine, one of the best in the last two decades.
That has translated into more people on the trails, more people visiting the state and a big boost to the economy and tourism industries with an economic value of snowmobiling at $350 million annually.
In recent years, many Maine Snowmobile Association clubs have partnered with our growing wind energy industry to create news trails, attract new corporate sponsors and offer snowmobilers from Maine and beyond unique experiences as they ride through our state.
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MOWII to collaborate with DWEA to launch Strategies for Manufacturers Advancing Research and Technology (SMART) Wind Consortium, craft technology Roadmap
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) announced that the Distributed Wind Energy Association was awarded a 2-year grant to form a consortium of distributed wind energy equipment manufacturers, suppliers, customers, and university researchers and develop a roadmap to identify common manufacturing gaps, prioritize actions to close these gaps, and foster rapid transfer of solutions. The Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative has been identified as a project collaborator and will be facilitating industry involvement in the Northeast.
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