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Maine Floating Wind ready for Mills

4C Offshore | Chris Anderson
By: Chris Anderson 27/07/2023 Chris Anderson
US Lawmakers have now approved a bill paving the way for deep-water development off the coast of Maine.  The snappily titled "Act Regarding the Procurement of Energy from Offshore Wind Resources"was approved by the full state Legislature and can now be put before Governor Janet Mills who has previously vetoed the Bill.  

President Biden's administration has set according to them a bold goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030, however the area under consideration off the Maine coast is in deeper water. Deep-water areas usually require floating platforms, but given deep water areas are home to two-thirds of America’s offshore wind energy potential, including along the West Coast and in the Gulf of Maine the Biden administration recognises the need to rapidly develop the technology to reduce costs so to support the industry moving forweard, the Administration will create a new Floating Offshore Wind Shot to accelerate breakthroughs across engineering, manufacturing, and other innovation areas. The Floating Offshore Wind Shot will aim to reduce the costs of floating technologies by more than 70% by 2035, to $45 per megawatt-hour with the aim to advance lease areas in deep waters in order to deploy 15 GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2035.

Support for the bill passing has been recived from Maine Audubon; Maine Labor Climate Council; Natural Resources Council of Maine; Union of Concerned Scientists;  Maine Audubon | Maine Labor Climate Council | Natural Resources Council of Maine | Union of Concerned Scientists | Maine Conservation Voters | Maine Climate Action Now | Iron Workers Local 7 | Laborers’ International Union Local 327 | Sierra Club Maine | Maine State Building and Construction Trades Council ; Maine Climate Action Now;  Iron Workers Local 7; Laborers’ International Union Local 327; Sierra Club Maine; Maine State Building and Construction Trades Council

Through the Maine Conservation Voters website they issued a joint statement applauding the bill stating "The opportunity presented by responsible offshore wind development has brought together a winning coalition of labor and environmental groups. The Mills Administration has indicated that the Governor will sign the bill, which will allow Maine to take advantage of the billions of dollars in private sector investment that would flow into the state’s ports, communities, and workforce.

Offshore wind development in Maine has garnered national interest as advocates seek to balance industry development with the state’s maritime heritage and existing marine uses to ensure the sustainable preservation of the natural resources in the Gulf of Maine. The coalition and stakeholders see LD 1895 as a national model for the clean energy transition and are highlighting the long-term job creation and economic development, supply chain and port infrastructure investment, and the opportunity to meet the state’s ambitious clean energy and climate change goals."

Bill sponsor Sen. Mark Lawrence stated "To combat climate change and invest in Maine’s energy independence, our state has set ambitious but necessary goals for renewable energy. It’s clear that this effort will involve offshore wind energy projects. If we know this is coming, we need to have guardrails in place to make sure this is done right and truly benefits Mainers,” adding  “I’m grateful to my fellow legislators for supporting this bill. LD 1895 represents a detailed path to smart offshore wind development.”  

Further comments:

“Maine is well positioned to be a leader in renewable energy and offshore wind. This bill will make sure that Maine’s workers, ratepayers, and economy get the best benefit possible,” said Sen. Chip Curry, D-Belfast. “I’m proud of all the careful consideration that went into shaping this legislation, and I’m eager to see it become law.”

“Maine’s clean energy future and our clean energy economy secured a major victory today,” said Kelt Wilska, Energy Justice Manager at Maine Conservation Voters. “When this bill is implemented, we’ll set a national example for how to responsibly develop a new, affordable energy source, grow good-paying jobs for our workers, and do so without compromising Maine values. We’re ready to get to work and launch this new industry.”

“This commitment to building an offshore wind industry for Maine shows that by working together we can do big things for our climate, economy and communities,” said Jack Shapiro, Climate & Clean Energy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Legislators and Governor Mills are moving us decisively towards a clean energy future that will bring thousands of family-supporting jobs, protect the rich array of wildlife in the Gulf of Maine, avoid conflicts with important fishing grounds, and put us on a path to meet a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040.”

“Today, Maine’s lawmakers took a serious and measurable step toward accelerating our clean energy transition and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Eliza Donoghue, Maine Audubon’s Director of Advocacy. “This legislation is necessary to help ensure that appropriately sited and operated offshore wind development safely co-exists with Gulf of Maine wildlife and the marine habitats they rely on.”

“Today we have seen what collaboration and good faith negotiation can bring to the people of Maine. This bill passing, once signed, can launch a new renewable energy industry in Maine. We look forward to strong community engagement as the impacts and benefits of offshore wind roll out,” said Amy Eshoo, Director of Maine Climate Action Now.

“The Legislature has taken a major step forward in helping Maine tap into its immense offshore wind potential that will be critical for achieving the state’s climate and clean energy goals. The bill is a powerful piece of policy that will create high-quality jobs in a rapidly growing industry while establishing important safeguards for the environment, fishing industry, tribes, and local communities,” said Steve Clemmer, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Director of Energy Research and Analysis. “As the bill moves to Governor Mills’ desk, we look forward to her timely signing and subsequent collaboration to ensure prompt and fair implementation.”

“With a bang of the gavel, the legislature sent one simple but powerful message to working Mainers; and that was: ‘You matter and we need you'” said Jason J. Shedlock, President of the Maine State Building & Construction Trades Council and an officer with Local 327 of the Laborers’ International Union. “We’re confident that Governor Mills agrees and will underline that statement with the stroke of her pen in the coming days. We also know there’s little time to celebrate, as building this industry will take a sustained, all-hands-on-deck approach. And much like virtually every major construction project in Maine’s history, a vast majority of those hands will have one thing in common: when they reach into their back pockets, they’ll find a union card that doubles as their passport to a middle-class career with dignity.”    


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