Statoil Invests $2.5 Billion in Wind Project off Coast of UK

Jul 15, 2014

A Norwegian company that dropped its plans to build a wind farm off the Maine coast after Republican Gov. Paul LePage intervened in the approval process has invested $2.5 billion in the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of Norwich, England, the Portland Press Herald reports.

Energy giant Statoil had planned to test wind turbines off Boothbay Harbor, after the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved the pilot project in January of 2013.

But LePage intervened, saying he was concerned that the project's energy would be too costly for consumers, and insisted on a provision in an energy bill to reopen the process to the University of Maine's Aqua Ventus project.  After Statoil pulled out, UMaine failed to win a $47 million federal grant for its pilot project.

Critics say the governor's maneuvering cost Maine a major opportunity to develop offshore wind power. But state officials say the Scotland and Maine projects are very different, and involve different technologies.

Patrick Woodcock, LePage’s energy director, told the paper that he doesn’t see a connection between Statoil’s investment in the UK wind farm and what the company might have invested in Maine.

Editor's Note: This story has been corrected to indicate that Statoil plans to invest in the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm, which is off the coast of Norwich, England, not Scotland.