Wind Power Photo-Trude-Refsahl---Statoil

Published on October 16th, 2013 | by Anneli Hidalgo


Statoil cancels Maine wind project

Norwegian Statoil pulls the plug on its highly anticipated $120 million offshore wind pilot project off the Maine coast.

The decision comes after changes in legislation scuttled an emerging electricity supply deal between the company and the US state. Instead, Statoil plans to put its resources toward pursuing an offshore wind project that the company is developing in Scotland, reports the Sun Journal.

“The project outlook all in all became too uncertain to progress in Maine, and we will focus our resources on the Hywind project in Scotland going forward,” said a Statoil spokesman to Recharge News.

In 2011, Statoil proposed the Maine offshore wind project in response to a request for proposals the Maine Public Utilities Commission issued in 2010 as it looked for an offshore wind project to support with ratepayer subsidies. In January 2013 the PUC, the Public Utilities Commission, finalized a term sheet with Statoil, though no formal contract had been signed. The legislature, in behest of Gov. Paul LePage, passed a law in June 2013 that forced the PUC to delay negotiations on a contract with Statoil and reopen the RFP process it had closed in 2011.

LePage had long opposed the Statoil project, states the Sun Journal. On Tuesday Oct 15, Gov. LePage released the following statement with regard to the Statoil announcement to close the Hywind Maine project:

“The Administration has been perfectly clear through the regulatory process that the term-sheet offered by Statoil was ironclad in its cost – placing a $200 million burden on Mainers by way of increasing electric costs. Additionally, the corporation was ambiguous in its commitment to growing Maine’s economy. Through bipartisan legislation the Governor and the Legislature worked to ensure that additional competition could be considered prior to embarking on a 20 year plan for Maine’s offshore wind industry and to finalize the best contract for Maine by the end of the year. With electric rates the 12th highest in the country we must continue to attract lower cost electricity that will grow Maine jobs.”

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