Statoil pulls out of Hywind Maine project

UNITED STATES: Statoil has pulled out of plans to develop its 12MW Hywind floating wind turbine project off the Maine coast.

A Hywind foating turbine being tested off Norway's coast

In a statement the Norwegian company said it had withdrawn from the $120 million Maine project due to "framework conditions in the state, uncertainty around the commercial framework, and the schedule implications of project delays made the project outlook too uncertain to proceed".

Maine’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the state electricity regulator, approved a term sheet for Statoil to proceed with the project in January.

Statoil’s project consisted of four 3MW floating turbine platforms 19km off the Maine coast.

However, at the same time the University of Maine was developing a 12MW demonstration project called New England Aqua Ventus 1. It will comprise two 6MW turbines on concrete semi-submersible foundations.

In July, the state’s senate passed a bill that allowed the University of Maine to bid to run an offshore pilot project.

The decision prompted Statoil to stop work on its Hywind project. In a letter to the PUC on 3 July, Statoil vice president of wind business development Lars Johannes Nordli stated: "[The company] cannot continue to spend its resources on this project without certainty that a contract for the project output will be finalised".

A Statoil spokesperson said: "We decided to exit the Hywind Maine project and we will be demobilizing resources as from now.

"The project outlook all in all became too uncertain to progress in Maine.

Trine Ulla, Statoil Floating Wind’s head of business development, said, "Regardless of our exit in Maine, we will continue to explore the US offshore wind market.

"The US holds several locations with good wind conditions, deep waters and proximity to load centres." 

The Statoil said it would continue to develop the parallel Hywind project it is developing in Scotland.