Maine applies for floating wind lease

On 1st October 2021, the Governor’s Energy Office in the US state of Maine applied to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to lease a 15.2-square-mile area in the Gulf of Maine for a
floating wind research site. If this is approved, Maine’s project, 29 miles offshore, will be the first floating offshore wind research array in federal waters.

The plan is for the project to encompass up to twelve wind turbines on University of Maine-designed floating hulls. Th University of Maine has been designing and developing the VolturnUS concrete hull technology for more than a decade.

The aim is to advance the university’s patented technology and to foster fresh research into how floating wind interacts with the marine environment, fishing, industry, shipping and navigation routes, and other factors.

Maine is uniquely prepared to create good-paying jobs across the state and reduce our crippling dependence on fossil fuels through the responsible development of offshore wind technology,” said Governor Janet Mills.This small-scale research site 30 miles off the coast will become home to innovative technology developed here in Maine. The research project will help establish the best way for our state to embrace the vast economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind. Fundamentally, I believe that offshore wind and Maine’s fishing industry can not only coexist, but can help us build a stronger economy and a brighter, more sustainable future for Maine people.”

Back in July, Governor Mills signed a ten-year moratorium on new offshore wind in state waters. This does not affect activities further out to sea, such as this development in the Gulf of Maine, because those waters are federal. Instead, the state waters decision reflects a dialogue with concerned fisheries.

Maine is positioned to be the US east coast’s floating wind leader, with a pilot project, the 10-12 MW Aqua Ventus, due to be built and commissioned in the next few years.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.