NRCM news release
January 19, 2023 (Augusta, ME) – The federal government today announced it would move forward reviewing plans for the nation’s first floating offshore wind research array in federal waters, located 29 miles off the coast of Maine.
The decision by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management finding that there was no viable competitive interest in the proposed site marks an important milestone for Maine’s efforts to become a global leader in offshore wind.
The 15.2-square-mile research array will deploy up to 12 floating offshore wind turbines using innovative technology developed by University of Maine researchers and students. Scientists will gather data from the project to better understand how offshore wind can be responsibly developed to avoid or mitigate impacts to wildlife, the marine environment, and other users of the Gulf of Maine.
“Using technology built right here in Maine and guided by the best available research and data, we can generate clean, reliable electricity, create thousands of good-paying jobs for Maine people, and protect the Gulf of Maine’s unique ecosystem and the people and wildlife that depend on it,” said Jack Shapiro, Climate & Clean Energy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM).
“Offshore wind represents an opportunity for Maine to develop a leading, innovative clean energy industry. If we follow the science, offshore wind, wildlife, fishing, and other activities in the Gulf of Maine can coexist as we embrace the vast benefits of wind power for our economy and our climate,” continued Shapiro.
Maine is in the process of finalizing an Offshore Wind Roadmap that will provide clear recommendations to ensure that any offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine results in good-paying jobs and economic benefits by preparing the state’s commercial seaports, investing in workforce development, and helping advance the University of Maine’s patented floating offshore wind technology.
Offshore wind placed responsibly in the Gulf of Maine has the potential to be the largest new source of affordable and reliable renewable energy for the regional electric grid. The Gulf of Maine has some of the strongest and most consistent winds in the world, and those winds peak in the winter months when energy use is the highest. On a daily basis, offshore wind will generate the most power at night, complementing solar energy, which peaks during the day.