Developing offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine will strengthen Maine’s economy by stabilizing energy costs and creating thousands of new family-supporting clean energy jobs.
LD 1895 is our chance to build a new home-grown clean energy source Maine can be proud of. It builds on the work of the Maine Offshore Wind Roadmap, a multi-year process led by the Governor’s Energy Office, which was created using input from a wide variety of voices across the state.
By working together, we can make sure offshore wind is responsibly sited in the Gulf of Maine to protect wildlife, avoid impacts to local lobstering and fishing families, and protect this shared resource for future generations.
The core of the bill sets clear goals and a schedule for Maine to buy offshore wind power through a competitive bidding process. Starting in 2025, Maine will contract for a total of 2.8 GW of floating offshore wind over the next 12 years. This will signal to developers that Maine is serious about offshore wind, helping stimulate billions in private sector investment in our workforce, ports, businesses, and communities.
Because this technology is new for Maine, it makes sense that people have questions about the potential impacts. Climate change is the biggest threat to our state’s wildlife, and the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of the world’s oceans. If we make decisions guided by the best available science, we can develop clean energy from offshore wind in a way that minimizes or avoids impacts to wildlife and the environment in the Gulf of Maine.
That’s why LD 1895 provides dedicated funding for conserving habitat and independent scientific research to study the best way for Maine to embrace the vast benefits of wind power while protecting wildlife and the environment. Developers will also be required to submit extensive wildlife, fisheries, and environmental mitigation plans.
Lobstering families and fishing communities also rely on a healthy, abundant Gulf of Maine, so they must also have a voice in its future. The bill will specifically encourage offshore wind development outside Lobster Management Area 1, a compromise negotiated with lobster and fishing communities and a key recommendation of the Offshore Wind Roadmap fisheries working group.
LD 1895 also includes strong standards to build high-quality career pathways and ensure no community is left behind. It incentivizes developers to prioritize economic and community benefits for low-income ratepayers, environmental justice populations, and federally recognized and state-acknowledged tribes.
Developers must submit diversity, equity, and inclusion plans and evaluation criteria include the utilization of women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses; the hiring of Maine residents, members of environmental justice populations, federally recognized and state-acknowledged tribes, and workers directly impacted by the growth of offshore wind energy and the utilization of registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.
Offshore wind will provide a stable and affordable source of electricity, protecting Maine people and businesses from the volatile price spikes we are experiencing because of the region’s heavy reliance on dirty oil and gas. The Maine Public Utilities Commission will also be encouraged to partner with other states for offshore wind generation and transmission to achieve lower electricity costs for customers.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine is partnering with a unique coalition of labor, conservation, and business groups to move offshore wind forward. Former Maine Chamber of Commerce president Dana Connors said it well in a recent Portland Press Herald op-ed:
This Maine-made technology presents the opportunity of a century for Maine, and it’s been guided by more than a decade of collaboration among a diverse group of stakeholders including environmental, labor and business groups; scientists, energy and marine experts, and local and state government officials.”
By setting a procurement schedule this session, including high standards for labor, equity, and the environment, LD 1895 will bring the large amounts of new clean energy the region needs to stabilize costs for consumers, create a new industry for Maine using Maine-based technology and talent, and ensure that offshore wind development is done responsibly with widely shared benefits.
Let’s Wind Up Maine!
-Jack Shapiro, Climate and Clean Energy Director
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