News

Maine Law professor advises on historic wind energy project

June 19, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine – Jeff Thaler, a visiting professor at the University of Maine School of Law, is playing a key role in a landmark renewable energy project that celebrated a major success off the coast of Maine this month.

VolturnUS, a 65-foot-tall floating wind turbine, was launched and began producing energy in Castine Harbor. The turbine is the only floating wind turbine outside of Europe, and the first of its kind to supply energy to the U.S. power grid. It was designed and built by the University of Maine, Cianbro Corp. and several other private and public partners, with financial backing from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The prototype turbine is 1/8th the size of the turbines that UMaine hopes to launch in the Gulf of Maine by 2016. The longterm plan calls for nearly 100 turbines to be deployed by 2030, each of them capable of powering about 2,000 homes, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Thaler, Visiting Professor of Energy, Law & Ethics at the University of Maine and the University of Maine School of Law, has been the attorney for the turbine project since its inception in 2008. Floating turbines are viewed as a cost-efficient alternative to wind turbines that are anchored into the sea floor, and they can be deployed further offshore, capturing the energy of stronger ocean winds.

“This is a historic moment for the Americas,” Professor Habib Dagher, director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures & Composites Center, told the Bangor Daily News. “Our goal is to export electrons, just like we export lobsters off the Gulf of Maine.”

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Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law
Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email: trevor.maxwell@maine.edu

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