Maine is competing nationwide, and in fact has become a finalist, in a project that combines bright minds with the power of our offshore winds.

After pulling through this last winter, the memory of ocean gales are still fresh in the minds of Mainers and they've been recorded by a wind turbine prototype created by the University of Maine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

Last May, we introduced you to VolturnUS, which was created after six years of research and development.  At that time project leader, Dr. Habib Dagher, told us the real test for VoltunUS would come during the winter months.

As Spring works its way back in to the state Dr. Dagher is pleased to report VolturnUS not only survived the Maine winter off shore, it worked beautifully.

"Now we know the design works," claims Dr. Dagher. "We've seen equivalent wave heights, compared to the size of the unit that are close to 70 feet, and the unit not only survived, it transmitted data."

Dr. Dagher says the ultimate goal is to harness the wind energy in the Gulf of Maine, which he says is equivalent to the power of 156 nuclear power plants.

The VolturnUS project is competing nationwide and the Department of Energy has narrowed the projects from 70 down to 6 based on engineering and financial feasibility.

The fact that the wind prototype worked as planned, bodes well for the project.

Dr. Dagher says the private investment in the project would bring much needed jobs to the state and reduce our overall energy costs.