Wind Energy Research and Development at the University of Maine

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today announced a $3 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the University of Maine to help equip the Offshore Wind Energy Laboratory at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center with state-of-the-art technology. The project will establish the only facility capable of designing, manufacturing and testing prototype wind blades of up to 70 meters in length in the United States.

"Strengthening research and development in support of an innovation economy is vital to creating jobs and maintaining global competitiveness," Blank said. "This EDA grant will provide cutting-edge technologies that will advance wind energy generation and serve as a catalyst for job creation in rural Maine."

This EDA investment supports the development and procurement of automated composites manufacturing equipment that will allow the University to design, build and test large offshore wind blades on-site. The project aims to find production efficiencies that will boost manufacturing of wind blades in the United States.

In addition to the renewable energy benefits of the project, the University estimates that the recyclable materials it will develop for wind blade construction will prevent landfill disposal of up to 1 billion lbs. of retired blades per year.

The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.