Since 2008, Maine has taken a “consortium approach” to offshore wind, meaning it’s led by a collaborative group of organizations and stakeholders and designed to benefit the public good. Our progress and process have been guided by leaders and stakeholders in many industries, including government, science, energy, education, environment, business, labor, and fishing and maritime groups. This project is a longstanding and highly engaged public private partnership, with public benefits.
Since 2006, UMaine has been involved in evaluating the Gulf of Maine as a source of renewable energy generation to secure domestic energy supply and create local economic opportunities, while reducing the environmental impact of fossil fuel use on the environment. With 40 engineers working on offshore wind research and development, UMaine has the largest research team in the country right now focused on floating offshore wind. They have an extensive body of work including more than 70 floating wind turbine patents, focusing on specific designs that can be manufactured domestically in Maine and the U.S.
State of Maine
Through three government administrations, a series of bipartisan legislative initiatives, and multiple in-depth studies conducted by state agencies, the State of Maine paved the way for renewable energy policy and offshore wind development. The State brings people together, coordinates and facilitates the collaborative efforts of Maine’s offshore wind partners, and incorporates many voices from Maine stakeholders in advancing a responsible plan for Maine’s historic offshore wind industry.
Specialized Renewable Energy Developer
The State of Maine and University of Maine have partnered with Pine Tree Offshore Wind (PTOW) to bring tactical renewable energy expertise to Maine’s growing floating offshore wind industry. PTOW is a project of Diamond Offshore Wind. This dedicated and specialized renewable energy leader was an early pioneer in the offshore wind sector. PTOW has a long history of supporting UMaine’s floating offshore wind technology program and will continue this successful partnership in advancing the Maine Research Array.
Maine’s labor unions and leading local builders and contractors have been actively engaged in the development of a Maine-made offshore wind industry. Leaders from Maine trades have been directly involved in legislative advocacy for offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine and have worked closely with UMaine and PTOW in shaping a workforce for the future based on Maine-made technology built by Maine workers. For the labor sector, floating offshore wind represents hundreds of jobs across 74 different occupations, with average wages between $50,000-$80,000.
Fishing and Maritime Industry Leaders
Extensive outreach with Maine’s heritage fishing and marine industries has shaped both the small-scale size and site selection of the Maine Research Array. Input from Maine fishing industry leaders led to the enactment of bipartisan legislation that prohibits offshore wind development in state waters where up to 75 percent of lobster activity occurs, and established the Maine Offshore Wind Research Consortium, which manages strategy for the Maine Research Array with engagement from stakeholders, including the fishing industry.
Conservation and environmental advocacy groups statewide have been strong supporters of floating offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine and have played a key role in the ongoing dialogue with state officials, policymakers, researchers, and other stakeholders in Maine’s offshore wind initiative. Their input has helped inform Maine’s balanced, small-scale, research-based approach to offshore wind that addresses the severe environmental impact of climate change while prioritizing coexistence with fishing and other current ocean users.