The University of Maine has announced an addition to the Maine Wind Working Group’s Maine Wind Energy Conference, Jan. 24 and 25 in Augusta. Speaker topics in the conference’s offshore wind track include the economics of offshore wind, critical path permitting issues, the results of a statewide public opinion survey, and other issues essential to the development of the industry.

The Maine Wind Energy Conference will be held Jan. 24 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Jan. 25¬†from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center. Expanded to two days, this year’s conference will feature nearly 50 speakers in five tracks over two days.

In addition to a slate of 14 speakers from the university, business, the state planning office and the nonprofit sector, Advanced Structures and Composites Center’s Director Habib J. Dagher will present an overview of the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s request for proposals for long-term contracts for deepwater offshore wind energy pilot projects, and the UMaine-led DeepCwind Consortium’s involvement in deepwater offshore wind energy technology development.

“With 149 gigawatts of wind power in its gulf, offshore wind development is one of Maine’s strongest opportunities to boost its economy and create thousands of jobs,” a Jan. 21 press release from DeepCWind said.

The University of Maine has raised over $40 million to support efforts to become a global leader in the field. Funded initiatives include the construction of the Offshore Wind Laboratory expansion to Advanced Structures and Composites Center, allowing wind structure testing up to 70 meters; testing of a 1/3 scale floating wind turbine at the UMaine Deepwater Offshore Wind Test Site off Monhegan Island in July 2012; and new academic programs for renewable energy and the environment at UMaine.

To learn more about the conference and to register, visit the website at mainewindenergyconference.com.

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