Maine’s Governor Offers Key Port Location to Propel the State as the Leader in Offshore Wind

Maine’s Governor Offers Key Port Location to Propel the State as the Leader in Offshore Wind

With the country embracing the benefits of wind power, the first floating offshore wind power project is in the developmental stages. Maine offers one hundred acres of Sears Island as a prime location on its coast for the new port. Governor Janet Mills of Maine recognized the potential in 2023 and signed a bill that positions her state to gain a surplus of energy from offshore wind turbines and power nearly half of its energy demands by 2040.

To make this a reality, the offshore wind port would allow for the construction, staging, and deployment of the turbine equipment needed for that task. Additionally, the port site, which is 117 miles northeast of Portland, will serve as a placeholder in research and development, including approximately twelve turbines on semi-submersible concrete platforms stationed in federal waters.

The Sears Island parcel “fundamentally makes the most sense and provides us with the best opportunity to responsibly advance offshore wind in Maine, an industry that will create good paying jobs for Maine people and deliver clean, renewable energy to stabilize and reduce energy prices for Maine people and businesses in the long run,” said Mills.

With an expected price tag of approximately $500 million, Mills pointed to the need for federal funding and other sources. The permitting process is anticipated to be robust, and the state has proposed leasing a site in the Gulf of Maine for the floating research component. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is currently reviewing that proposal.

While the project is a significant opportunity to move the state forward in renewable energy, only some of its constituents offer support. Offshore wind development has become a growing concern of the state’s historic lobster fishing industry. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association said, “offshore wind should not be developed in one of the world’s most productive marine areas,” referring to the Gulf of Maine. The organization further commented, “the productive and fragile waters of the Gulf of Maine should not be used as testing ground for new offshore wind technology or to site large industrial wind farms.”

Additional opposition comes from community and conservation groups local to the state. Steve Miller, member of the Alliance for Sears Island, said the state was “breaking its promise to Maine residents” by allowing the port to be developed on the island.

Favor, however, came quickly from the American Association of Port Authorities. Ian Gansler, the group’s energy, resilience, and sustainability policy manager, offered justification and announced all offshore wind projects “rely on port infrastructure for their construction, and it is crucial that Maine invest in its ports to achieve this in the future.”

Other conservation groups joined labor groups in wagering their support for the project. Boosting jobs across a rural area of the state and producing renewable energy were cited as justification in supporting the project.

“The rapid deployment of renewable energy is critical to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change and protecting Maine wildlife,” said Sarah Haggerty, conservation biologist and GIS manager with Maine Audubon. “Floating offshore wind presents an incredible opportunity to generate a large amount of clean energy while successfully coexisting with Gulf wildlife.”

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Nick Vaccaro
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Nick Vaccaro is a freelance writer and photographer. In addition to providing technical writing services, he is an HSE consultant in the oil and gas industry with twelve years of experience. Vaccaro also contributes to SHALE Oil and Gas Business Magazine, American Oil and Gas Investor, Oil and Gas Investor, Energies Magazine and Louisiana Sportsman Magazine. He has a BA in photojournalism from Loyola University and resides in the New Orleans area. Vaccaro can be reached at 985-966-0957 or

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