The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) successfully submitted a proposal to the Bureau of the Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for the nation’s inaugural floating offshore wind research center in federal waters, a 15.2-square-mile region almost 30 miles offshore in Gulf of Maine. On innovative floating hulls constructed by the University of Maine, the state plans to install a small-scale research set of 12 or even fewer wind turbines. The project will improve the University of Maine’s unique technology while also fostering cutting-edge research into exactly how the floating offshore wind does interact with Maine’s marine environment, fishing sector, shipping as well as navigation routes, among many more.
The University of Maine has been a leader in the design and production of floating concrete hull capabilities for offshore wind turbines dubbed VolturnUS for more than a decade, with the objective of establishing a thriving floating offshore wind sector in Maine. For deep-water offshore wind energy, the floating platforms are considered critical technology. The research location is only 15.2 square miles in size, which is less than earlier forecasts and represents only.04 percent of Gulf of Maine’s 36,000-square-mile surface. This small site is about 29 miles from Cape Small, which is situated in Sagadahoc County, the closest mainland point, which is about 45 miles from Portland, and 23 miles from Monhegan. It was chosen after a lengthy public outreach effort headed by GEO, which included a study by the Maine Department of Marine Resources that helped select locations with the least amount of known possible negative effects on the fishing sector.
The research site demonstrates the Mills Administration’s dedication to responsibly grow the offshore wind in the Federal waters in Gulf of Maine, that contains some of the world’s highest sustained wind speeds as well as abundant potential to provide clean, renewable energy for the Maine residents. The research site also fits with the emerging offshore wind industry’s trajectory in the United States, as the federal government’s and many states’ ambitious safe energy generation targets drive demand for the commercial-scale ventures in the deep Federal waters, where the floating platform technology will almost certainly be required.
The goal of this research array is to improve the development of Maine’s offshore wind economy whilst promoting the sustainable growth of the floating offshore wind in U.S. and overseas by resolving fundamental concerns about how offshore wind may exist in Gulf of Maine.
In June, Governor Mills approved LD 336 into law. Governor Mills approved supplementary legislation, LD 1619, limiting new offshore wind facilities in State waters that extend three miles from the coast, in response to concerns made by Maine fishermen and to reflect the Administration’s priority of siting offshore wind in the Federal waters. This legislation also formed offshore wind research consortium, that is going to manage research goals for the array and include members of Maine’s marine scientists, fishing industry, offshore wind industry specialists, and others.