UMaine wind power expert remains optimistic despite PUC vote

ORONO, Maine (WABI) - The head of UMaine's wind energy research facility remains optimistic despite the Maine Public Utilities Commission vote to rethink their funding of the project.

Dr. Habib Dagher is Executive Director of the school's Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

He says after attending the PUC meeting Tuesday it was clear that there were questions about the future of wind energy off Maine's coast...
Questions he feels he'll be able to answer in the months ahead.

Supporters of the project have criticized the LePage administration for the decision to go back on the deal.

But Dagher is confident that under this governor or the next, this is what's best for Maine.

"The good news is wind offshore the coast of Maine is there and is going to be there no matter who is in office in the state of Maine," he said. "The National Renewable Energy lab put a report out last year that ranked Maine as the number one state on the East Coast to produce offshore wind by 2027, because of the big resource that we have. So it's our largest renewable resource and we are working diligently to make sure the people of Maine benefit from this resource."

Dagher says this decision will likely set them back a year from their 2020 goal of having two massive turbines off Maine's coast up and running.

He says other east coast states have recently invested hundreds of millions of dollars in harnessing wind and that Maine stands at great risk of falling behind if the PUC doesn't stick to the deal.