Statoil pulls plug on Maine demo
UPDATE: Company will focus on 30MW Hywind 2 off north-east Scotland
Statoil announced today it is abandoning a proposed 12MW wind project offshore Maine and will focus instead on a demonstrator off the coast of Scotland.
The Norwegian energy giant blamed regulatory uncertainty for its decision.
“Changes in the 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,” said the company.
“Statoil will now focus on the Hywind concept in Scotland, a project we have matured in parallel with Hywind Maine during the last three years.”
Statoil, which had already signed a term sheet, put its $120m four-turbine Hywind Maine concept on hold this summer when the state reopened the RFP process to let a University of Maine-led consortium submit a bid.
Both projects were competing for a power purchase agreement and $47m in federal Department of Energy funding.
Maine governor Paul LePage said Statoil's bid was too expensive. He claimed today that Statoil was “ambiguous in its commitment to growing Maine’s economy”.
LePage said: “The administration has been perfectly clear through the regulatory process that the term-sheet offered by Statoil was ironclad in its cost – placing a $200m burden on Mainers by way of increasing electric costs.”
He added: "With electric rates the 12th highest in the country we must continue to attract lower cost electricity that will grow Maine jobs.”
Despite the pullout, Statoil head of business development for floating wind Trine Ulla said the company will continue to explore the US offshore wind market.
“The US holds several locations with good wind conditions, deep waters and proximity to load centers,” said Ulla.
A decision on a PPA for the UMaine proposal is expected by year-end. The Aqua Ventus consortium plans to commercialize UMaine’s floating wind turbine technology VolturnUS, which has been deployed at 1:8 scale in Castine Harbor since June.
Image: Norwegian energy giant turns focus to 30MW Hywind Scotland scheme (Statoil)