A state senator in Maine has proposed a bill to block the 12MW Aqua Ventus offshore wind demonstration project.

The legislation by Republican senator Dana Dow would prohibit turbines within 16km of the Monhegan Lobster Conservation Area.

The measure would protect the area’s economy and culture, as well as migratory birds, said Dow.

“I believe the need is to finally settle this issue so that outside interests will know whether they can build this project or move onto a different area,” said Dow.

A University of Maine-led consortium plans to deploy a pair of turbines on floating foundations in state waters near Monhegan Island, about 16km off the mainland.

The project was awarded $50m in federal Energy Department funding for technology demonstration projects.

The consortium includes Canadian utility Emera, European marine energy outfit DCNS and Cianbro, which will fabricate the semi-submersible concrete hulls in Maine.

The team is trying to reach financial close by the end of this year, start construction in 2018 and power up in 2019.

Image: University of Maine