Wednesday, 21 September 2011 08:15
On September 10, 2011, Dr. Habib Dagher, Director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center and the Principal Investigator of the DeepCwind Consortium spoke at the TEDxDirigo conference hosted at the Portland Stage Company. The TEDxDirigo conference (and Dr. Dagher) was featured in an article by Mike Miliard of the Portland Phoenix.
"Habib Dagher, Director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at UMaine, presented the TEDxDirigo crowd with a sobering statistic: by 2018, accounting for transportation, heating, and electricity, the average family in Maine will be spending 40 percent of its budget on energy. But he also offered a hopeful number: the potential exists for a full 149 gigawatts of energy to be generated offshore in Maine. (By comparison, Maine Yankee produced 0.9 gigawatts.) The good news is that with help from "two small companies" called Cianbro and Bath Iron Works, plans are well in motion to harvest the first five gigawatts of offshore energy by 2030. The first prototype will be in water the next year — off Monhegan Island, invisible beyond the curvature of the earth. The hope is to scale up quickly from there. Oh, and the turbines? They float. Beyond the energy savings, the project stands to create thousands of jobs. Aside from an oblique mention, at one point, that he was talking about the previous administration, Dagher didn't acknowledge the changed political landscape in Maine since the wind project got started. Nor did his funny animation, showing a cartoonish tugboat dragging a turbine out to sea, say much about other real-world concerns, like the effects on offshore fishing grounds. Instead Dagher just made clear the urgent need to get moving on such a potentially transformative project. "We're on a mission," he said. "But the timeline is important. We have to work together."