Energy secretary to visit UMaine

Posted May 26, 2010, at 9:44 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — U.S. Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu plans to visit the University of Maine’s Orono campus to learn more about its deepwater offshore wind energy research program.

Chu and Sen. Susan Collins, who invited the secretary to tour the university, will visit the Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center on June 14. The visit comes on the heels of Collins’ request to the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which she is a member, for a minimum of $20 million to be allocated for development and testing of deepwater wind technologies in fiscal year 2011.

“I believe that deepwater, offshore wind has enormous potential to help us meet our nation’s electricity needs and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Collins said in a statement. “But, it also presents an exciting opportunity for the state of Maine to create thousands of much-needed, good-paying ‘green jobs.’”

Gov. John Baldacci said in a statement that he is “pleased that Secretary Chu will see firsthand the groundbreaking work on alternative energy being conducted by Dr. Habib Dagher and the other scientists at the Center. The federal government has been very supportive of the deepwater wind project, and has been a real partner in Maine’s efforts to develop a more stable and secure energy supply that is renewable and will create jobs here in Maine.”

Collins has successfully lobbied for more than $25 million in deepwater offshore wind research, including a $12.4 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology for the construction of an Advanced Nanocomposites in Renewable Energy Laboratory at UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

Further details about Chu’s visit will be released as they become available.

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