Maine for Offshore Wind
Offshore wind energy is Maine’s largest untapped resource. With an offshore wind procurement law in place as of July 2023 for 3 GW by 2040, Maine is a top player in regional offshore wind development. With significant technical potential relative to its energy demand and the strongest winds of the East Coast off its coast, offshore wind in Maine could power the state many times over.
Offshore Wind Status
Procurements to date:
- 11 MW
- New England Aqua Ventus I (11 MW)
- Contracted 2019
- Status: state permitting in process
- Planned commercial operation date : 2023
New England Aqua Ventus
Maine is currently moving forward with the 11 MW New England Aqua Ventus I demonstration project south of Monhegan Island that consists of one floating turbine. Cianbro Corp. and the University of Maine are participating in the project.
The Gulf of Maine has incredible potential for a significant offshore wind industry to thrive. Research on floating offshore wind technology will allow the state and other stakeholders, such as the fishing industry, to learn about the impacts and benefits of this new technology, with the aim of learning best practices for how offshore wind can coexist with existing ocean uses and avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts to wildlife and the environment. This research could potentially allow Maine to capitalize on its abundant renewable energy resource and protect its environment by mitigating the effects of climate change.
In fall 2021, the Maine Governor’s Energy Office submitted an application to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to secure a lease area in the Gulf of Maine for a floating offshore wind research array. The project would have up to 12 turbines built on floating foundations designed at the University of Maine.
BOEM issued a request for competitive interest in mid-2022 relating to Maine’s research area lease application. BOEM issued a Determination of No Competitive Interest in January 2023 for the proposed research lease area followed by a draft Environmental Assessment in July.
Future of Offshore Wind
New England for Offshore Wind’s Maine members reached a huge milestone in 2023 with the passage of historic offshore wind procurement legislation that they crafted through tireless collaboration with stakeholders in the state and region.
Signed by Gov. Janet Mills on July 27, An Act Regarding the Procurement of Energy from Offshore Wind Resources sets a procurement schedule for a goal of 3 GW of installed offshore wind power in the Gulf of Maine by 2040 and establishes measures to support development of a major offshore wind port in Maine.
Gulf of Maine Lease Sale
BOEM announced details of its plan for future offshore wind leasing in 2021 with a possible lease sale in the Gulf of Maine in 2024. The agency published a Call for Information and Nominations in April 2023 to assess interest in possible commercial wind energy development in the Gulf of Maine. Previously, BOEM issued a request for interest (RFI) as the first step in the commercial leasing process. Using information obtained during the RFI comment period, BOEM reduced the original RFI area by about 27% to create a Draft Call Area and solicited feedback on the draft area in January 2023.
The state of Maine is also part of BOEM’s Gulf of Maine Intergovernmental Regional Task Force on offshore wind along with Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Maine Offshore Wind Roadmap
Gov. Janet Mills has supported offshore wind for Maine, establishing the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative to solicit input from local officials, Maine tribal representatives, marine interest groups, the commercial fishing industry, environmental organizations, academics, scientists, business organizations and labor unions. As part of the Wind Initiative, the Maine Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) is leading development of the Maine Offshore Wind Roadmap.
A Draft Roadmap released in December 2022 represents an 18-month initiative led by the GEO that brought together constituents from state agencies, municipalities, educational institutions, advocacy organizations, industry associations, and businesses along with public input. It features five central objectives, each with its own set of strategies and actions. Each objective would help set a pathway for building an offshore wind sector in the state that creates equitable economic advantage, helps reduce carbon emissions and secure more stable energy prices, fosters innovative technologies, supports existing coastal economies, and protects wildlife and the environment.
NE4OSW Applauds Passage of Momentous Offshore Wind Bill in Maine
“We could not have reached this incredible milestone for the state without the deep collaboration between Maine environmental, justice and labor organizations, state leaders and the scientific community. We’re ready to get to work and launch this new industry.”
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