A site off Monhegan Island has been picked to host an offshore wind test project led by the University of Maine.

University officials have said they seek to install one 100-kilowatt turbine and one 10-killowatt turbine at this site, which is located less than two miles south of Monhegan’s Lobster Cove. Click here to see map of Monhegan test site.

University of Maine staff plans to meet with island officials “to better understand community expectations,” said Jake Ward, assistant vice president of Research, Economic and Governmental Relations at the University of Maine.

The potential for offshore wind resources in Maine is estimated at 100 gigawatts, or three-to-four times the current peak demand for all of New England, said Gov. John Baldacci in a press release about the site selection. “Maine has a great potential to be a leader in offshore wind development, and the selection of the demonstration sites is an important step toward that goal,” Baldacci said.

The Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine is leading a 38-member consortium to install the test turbines at the Monhegan site. In October the center received an $8 million U.S. Department of Energy grant for this project.

The Monhegan Island site measures about 2.1 miles by 1.1 miles. A total of five square miles of ocean bottom has been designated as part of all three test sites, according to state officials.

The UMaine team will need to look at the location of the nearest Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System buoy to see if it needs to be relocated in order to obtain specific data on the site, said Ward. A site plan will be developed, and the permitting process will begin. University official have said they would like the first test turbine in the water in 2011.

“We’ll also have to look more closely at the bottom for anchoring design,” Ward said, which will involve sending a remotely operated underwater vehicle to the bottom.

Fishermen will be consulted to obtain local knowledge about the site, Ward said.

The application for each test site must include, among other requirements, a description of commercial fishing or other existing uses in the test area, according to LD 1465, the law that created the state’s offshore test process. The application also must include the marine resources in the waters and submerged lands right next to any anchor, ocean sensor package, submerged utility line or any other part of the project that is secured to the seabed.

Suzanne Pude, director of the Maine Community Wind program at the Island Institute, also contributed to this story.