HALLOWELL (AP) — A panel of state regulators is poised to vote on a proposal to build a 12-megawatt wind project off the coast of Maine.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to grant initial approval for a state contract to the University of Maine and its partner companies, called Maine Aqua Ventus.

Supporters said the state needs to move forward with concrete steps to combat fossil fuel dependence and climate change. But critics worry about the cost pushed onto ratepayers and the impact it will have on nearby Monhegan Island.

Last year, the PUC gave the first nod to Norwegian company Statoil for its own offshore wind project, but it was spiked following maneuvering by Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration.

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