BREWER — Maine Sen. Susan Collins has christened North America’s first floating offshore wind turbine to generate electricity.

Collins took part in a ceremony for the 65-foot-tall prototype Friday. A large crane was lifting it to be towed from Brewer down the Penobscot River to Castine.

By Monday, it will be hooked up to the grid and start generating electricity.

The prototype is one-eighth the size of a full-scale turbine that the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center hopes to launch in 2016. The floating turbine was built by the Cianbro Construction Company. 

This sets the stage for more expanded offshore wind development off Maine’s coast. UMaine leads the DeepCWind Consortium, whose goal is to generate 5 gigawatts of power by 2030, employing floating turbines located 20-50 miles offshore.

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