News release from Natural Resources Council of Maine and the National Wildlife Federation
November 20, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) — Maine’s newly announced plan to build the nation’s first floating offshore wind turbine research array underscores the state’s climate leadership and underscores the growing momentum for this critical clean energy solution at a time when wildlife and coastal communities are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Responsibly developed offshore wind energy is an essential part of our national efforts to address the climate crisis and power states’ economic recovery during these uncertain times,” said Catherine Bowes, offshore wind program director at the National Wildlife Federation. “Governor Mills is setting an example for how states can take bold steps on offshore wind power. We look forward to working together to advance floating offshore wind energy in a way that protects our coastal and marine wildlife, workers, and communities.”
“Today’s announcement takes us one step closer to powering the future with clean, affordable energy, and complements the ambitious action Maine has already taken to save its residents money with heat pumps, weatherization assistance, and solar energy,” said David Costello, climate and clean energy director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Governor Mills has put forth a plan for developing offshore wind in a smart way that will both create high-quality jobs and ameliorate concerns of the state’s vital fishing communities.”
The state will apply for a research lease from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to secure a location for a 12-turbine array that will generate crucial data for understanding the marine impacts of floating wind in the North Atlantic. The Governor’s Energy Office will work closely with Maine’s commercial fishing industry to ensure successful deployment of this technology that will play a key role in achieving the state’s goals of 80 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.
The offshore wind energy potential in the United States could power the country nearly twice over — but 80 percent of the offshore wind resources are in waters greater than 60 meters deep where floating technology is required. Maine is leading the nation to advance this technology, and recently received a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to Maine’s Governor’s Energy Office to grow these efforts. The grant will fund a multi-year effort to create an offshore wind roadmap in partnership with state agencies and interested stakeholders across all sectors. This effort comes at a pivotal time in floating offshore wind technology that has become cost-competitive with turbine sizes that reach 9.5 megawatts and can power around 4,750 homes each.