Last week Maine voters approved an $11 million dollar bond package to support offshore wind research. Today United States Secretary of Energy Steven Chu paid a visit to the University of Maine to check on that school’s research.As he toured the the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at UMaine, Dr. Chu, the U.S. Seceretary of Energy, got the chance to learn all about the research being done to help develop offshore wind farms. “It’s truly impressive what I’ve seen here,” said Dr. Chu, “the materials, fabrication, testing and design place is really a very impressive thing. It shows it’s part of the leadership Maine has shown in going toward a new economy.”UMaine officials showed Chu their timeline for the offshore wind project. They hope to have a test site in place off Monhegan island by 2012. Joining the energy seceretary on the tour, Senator Collins, Governor Baldacci, and Representatives Michaud and Pingree. Who all agree this project could have an enormous impact on Maine’s economy. “I view the development of deepwater offshore wind energy as potentially transforming Maine’s economy and leading to the creation of as many as 15,000 new green energy jobs,” says Senator Collins.Collins has asked for an additional $20 million in federal money to help pay for the project. Chu has set a goal to have 20% of the country’s electricity generated by windpower by the year 2030. “This is a goal that the state of Maine is positioned to help our country meet,” Chu says.While the topic of discussion was energy independence, oil continues to spill into the Gulf of Mexico, a situation Chu is all too familiar with. “It’s another reminder that we do need a comprehensive energy strategy in the coming decades.”The hope here is Maine can be a global leader in that strategy.