Jun 10, 2016

Maine offshore wind funding: French naval contractor getting a big piece of the pie?


Perched at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, Monhegan Island will soon find itself hosting DCNS, a France-based naval military contractor with no experience with offshore windpower. DCNS has become a partner in Maine Aqua Ventus, the University of Maine-led consortium working to develop and deploy two fullsize prototype floating wind turbines off in state waters off Monhegan.

With contractors like DCNS, $40 million won't be going very far. What's DCNS' bite of the Maine Aqua Ventus funding pie? Why them and not BIW or another Maine company?

DCNS cites "Our knowledge of complex systems and maritime technologies, as well as our expertise in managing complex programs..." as reason for hiring out-of-country.

Those skills are not to be found here in the Dawn State? DCNS is simply a big naval contractor that, having snapped up some tidal power businesses, now proposes to expand into ocean windpower, of which they, by their own admission have zero experience.
Milking the cash cow. How much do the various individuals within the ivory tower & the consultancies feeding off this grant expect to earn? Not to mention expense accounts and junketing around our windy world, as consumed much of DOE's seed grant that ended up with Dagher's Folly, a dwarf prototype too small and frail to be tested at Maine's ocean wind test center! Don't think it can't happen again. Leadership of the consortium whose prototype failed the DOE competition hasn't changed. Maine is back in only because of the inability of the winner states to follow through. Do we really expect different results from the same crew that mismanaged its federal seed money? Isn't that the definition of.......naive? Worse: Statoil's shortlived wind effort here was a model of transparency compared to the DeepCwind team's consistent opacity. It took litigation to free up information about their offshore wind test center selection process. Top windie Habib Dagher absolutely refuses to debate with critics of "his" project or even appear on a wind energy panel if an "unbeliever" is allowed too.
In short Maine's ocean wind power consortium, under whichever name: DeepCwind or Maine Aquaventus has always been more like a private Game of Thrones: a great wasteful scramble for personal advantage, with the smallfolk not welcome.

Maine can do better than that

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