Offshore wind development poses a threat to the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and our way of life in Maine

Together, we can protect the Gulf of Maine

we need your voice & support today

Our Ask

prioritize completing Maine's offshore wind road map before new development projects

Currently, there are two research projects proposed to quickly build out offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine (LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE PROJECTS). Maine's fishing communities are extremely concerned because these research projects will have a profound impact on how the ocean is used and potentially lead to rapid expansion of offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine.

 

The rapid expansion of projects is moving at a pace that does not recognize the significant impact offshore wind will have on the Gulf of Maine, coastal communities, and Maine's economy. There will be a significant impact on the ecosystem, on birds, bats, marine mammals, fish populations, and the humans who live, work, and play on these waters. There are many unanswered questions about floating offshore wind that must be answered BEFORE we even expand research projects. While combatting climate change must be a priority, we cannot destroy the environment and a way of life while trying to solve our climate problems. 

 

Due to COVID-19, there have been no in-person meetings with fishermen who may be impacted. Online meetings have been used to communicate instead, but this is incredibly difficult for some fishermen who are not familiar with online platforms, and for many who live in rural communities. 

Accordingly, we are asking the Governor's office to complete the offshore wind road map before bringing the process of large-scale projects in the Gulf of Maine.

The GUlf of Maine

The breadbasket of the Atlantic 

 

Recognized as one of the world’s most biologically productive marine ecosystems in the world, the Gulf of Maine contains various marine and estuarine habitats. These include salt marshes, seagrass beds, tidal mudflats, underwater rocky outcrops, and kelp beds that provide a home to over 3,000 marine species and birds.

Ecosystem

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Despite unprecedented market losses, Maine fishermen earned over half a billion dollars for their catch in 2020, valued at $516,796,614.

Economics

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Maine has over 3,400 miles of coastline and 120 coastal and island communities. An estimated 34% of the state's total population lives within those communities.

 

Fishing is a defining characteristic within many of these communities. It creates a sense of place that is unique and special, and that draws visitors from around the world.

 

Fishing families live in every island & coastal community in Maine. In almost half of those communities at least 5% of residents are fishermen.

Community

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Maine's ocean stewards

Fishermen have been working for generations to protect the Gulf of Maine.

Now we need YOUR help.

The Catch

 

What's the Plan?

The State of Maine is pushing forward with a new larger offshore wind "research project" without the infrastructure to support it.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded a $2 million grant to the Governor’s Energy Office to advance the offshore wind industry in Maine through the development of a comprehensive industry Roadmap. This Roadmap is a crucial part of ensuring Maine's communities are not left behind in the rush to develop the Gulf of Maine. Unfortunately, the Roadmap will not be completed or started by the time a proposal for the Research Array is planned to be submitted to BOEM. 

Floating Offshore Wind is VERY different

This project is not the same as what is happening in other parts of the United States

Floating offshore wind development takes up A LOT more space and it means most other types of activities cannot take place around these structures. Each floating base is the size of a football field and will be anchored to the seafloor with multiple chains that are each ten feet wide.

The Gulf of Maine is still wild

We aren't paving over paradise, we're building skyscrapers on it

The Gulf of Maine is still a wild place. Each one of these wind turbines will be potentially 600 to 700 feet tall and will have a profound impact on this wild ecosystem. 

replacing food with energy production

Local seafood is healthy, sustainable, and carbon friendly

Fishermen off our coast have been feeding Maine's communities for generations. There is a growing demand for high-quality, heathy food and the Gulf of Maine is one of the most productive ecosystems in the world at creating seafood. 

The Energy is expensive

Maine rate payers are going to be paying for international companies to take risks on the Gulf of Maine

Through a power purchase agreement, Central Maine Power will be paying 23 cents per kWh, which escalates yearly at more than two percent, to buy power from the Monhegan Wind Project. Current wholesale electric prices are roughly 8.6 cents per kWh (In contrast, a large solar project approved around the same time by the PUC, Dirigo Solar, has an initial price of 3.4 cents per kWh).

Commercial Wind Development in the

Gulf of Maine

project breakdown

In 2008, Governor Baldacci convened the Ocean Energy Task Force to review and develop energy goals for the Gulf of Maine. The results of that task force was the establishment of a goal to install 5,000 MW of offshore wind energy by 2030; improve the siting, governance, and permitting framework for renewable ocean energy development; promote and support financing and development of renewable ocean energy projects and related businesses; improve and align energy transmission infrastructure and state energy policy to attain the offshore wind goals; and, streamline state permitting of appropriately-sited offshore wind energy development.

The Monhegan Project

in 2009, in response to the recommendations from the Task Force, UMaine proposed and got approval for a research project off of Monhegan Island to experiment with the creation of a floating platform made out of concrete. 

While this project started as two smaller-scale test turbines that would supply energy to the remote island, the project has grown and will now be a 412-foot tall single turbine with a blade tip height of 740 feet anchored off the coast of the island for 20 years with a cable bringing the energy into Boothbay Harbor and sold into the grid.

 

Additionally, what was once a collaboration between  Cianbro Corporation, the University of Maine, and the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at UMaine collectively organized as "New England Aqua Ventus", has now become a project of Diamond Offshore Wind (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation) and RWE (a German multinational energy company).

 

This project is in its final stages of development and is planned to be built in 2022. 

Gulf of Maine Floating Offshore Wind Research Array

While the Monhegan Aqua Ventus Project has yet to begin collecting data, the Maine Governor's Office has identified offshore wind energy as an opportunity for Maine’s energy future and has announced its intention to apply for the country's first offshore floating wind research array in the Gulf of Maine. The goal is the creation of a 12 turbine (or less) research array taking up 16 square miles of some of the most important and productive fishing grounds in the world. 

The focus of this project will still be on the floating technology that is being developed by UMaine, with Diamond Offshore Wind and RWE Renewables actually building the project and being the for-profit business partners. It is still unclear what the profit sharing and business agreement will be. A group of research partners will also be identified to build out the different research projects to be conducted within and around the array. 

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The test site will be located somewhere within this area with a cable coming into either Maine Yankee or Wyman Station

Maine's Offshore Wind Roadmap

In October 2020, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $2.166 million grant to the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) to advance the offshore wind industry in Maine through the development of a comprehensive industry “Roadmap.” This work is supposed to include developing strategies to realize potential economic benefits in areas such as ports and infrastructure, manufacturing and supply chain, and workforce development. The effort will also focus on planning and data-gathering to support siting decisions, with the goal of minimizing potential effects on the environment and fisheries.

This Roadmap is a crucial part of ensuring Maine's communities are not left behind in the rush to develop the Gulf of Maine. Unfortunately, the Roadmap will not be completed, or even started, by the time a proposal for the Research Array is planned to be submitted to BOEM. 

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