The state’s public utilities commission (PUC) will issue a request for proposals calling for an offshore project of up to 30MW, of which no more than 5MW can be tidal power. The remainder will be wind.
To be eligible for the contract, wind farms can only use floating turbines. These must be at least ten miles from the mainland and inhabited islands, in water at least 300 feet deep.
Additionally, developers must have the capacity to later develop an offshore project of 100MW or greater.
The PUC’s selected project will enter into a power purchase agreement of up to 20 years with either Central Maine Power or Bangor Hydro.
Developers must commit to investing in Maine manufacturing facilities. These could include turbine, blade, component, foundation or maintenance facilities.
The PUC is required to issue the call for bids by state legislation passed last April.
Wind farms must be operational within five years after contracts are signed, according to the legislation. But, the PUC has authority to extend that timeframe.
Voters in Maine recently approved an $11 million bond measure to fund deepwater wind research and development, led by the University of Maine.
The procurement process should be complete within one year, the PUC said.
If Maine's plans come to fruitition it could have one of the first offshore wind farms that use floating turbines.
Currently there are a number of floating turbine concepts in development, although none are being used on a major offshore development. Statoil is planning to develop a demonstration wind farm in the North Sea for its own Hywind floating turbine project.