Aqua Ventus

Monhegan community task force takes on wind project outreach

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 9:15am

The Monhegan Energy Task Force, a volunteer group of Monhegan residents consisting of representatives from the Monhegan Plantation Power District (MPPD) and the island’s assessors’ office, as well as several concerned citizens, is leading the process of engaging the community in discussions with Maine Aqua Ventus about its proposed pilot project. 

The University of Maine plans to install a pilot floating offshore wind farm with two 6-megawatt direct-drive turbines on concrete semi-submersible foundations near Monhegan Island. These concrete foundations could result in improvements in commercial-scale production and provide offshore wind projects with a cost-effective alternative to traditional steel foundations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, which has contributed $4 million to complete the engineering, site evaluation, and planning phase of the project.

In 2012, the DOE directed $4 million each to seven technology demonstration projects, totaling $168 million over six years. The engineering, design, and deployment projects are to support innovative offshore installations in state and federal waters, with most targeted to begin commercial operation by 2017, the DOE said. In 2014, the DOE Wind Program intends to select up to three of the projects to advance the follow-on design, fabrication, and deployment phases to achieve commercial operation by 2017.

Tara Hire, Monhegan’s first assessor, and Marian Chioffi, MPPD’s bookkeeper, are serving as the task force’s co-chairmen, with Hire focusing on community outreach and Chioffi as a resource for technical information related to Monhegan’s power grid. 

“The Monhegan Energy Task Force is currently gathering information to better understand the short- and long-term impacts that the proposed Aqua Ventus project would have on the Monhegan community,” Hire said. 

For more information, please contact Tara Hire at 207-210-2544 (cell), 207-596-0606 (home) or; or Marian Chioffi at 207-975-4066 (cell), 207-596-6194 (home) or