Maine Governor Janet Mills has launched an in-depth assessment of the potential for using Searsport, Maine’s second largest port and the Mack Terminal there as a logistics hub for offshore windfarms on the US east coast
“Offshore wind is poised to become a US$1Trn industry by 2040, creating thousands of good-paying jobs, providing clean renewable energy, and spurring economic growth,” said the Governor. “With our existing port infrastructure and proximity to European and east coast markets, Maine is well-positioned to become a leader in the offshore wind industry.
“Searsport has been critical for the delivery and deployment of onshore wind in New England for years. My administration will evaluate how the port can do the same for offshore wind. I look forward to the results of this assessment and charting a path forward for this industry in Maine.”
The study, Port Infrastructure and Market Potential Assessment, will be led by the Maine Department of Transportation, the Governor’s Energy Office and Department of Economic and Community Development as a part of the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative.
It will utilise the 2017 Searsport Intermodal Commodity Study as a foundation and identify and assess short-term and long-term port opportunities related to the offshore wind industry. It will review current site characteristics, provide an analysis of potential port users and identify structural improvements or capital investments that may be needed.
Additional analysis and review will also be undertaken to review offshore wind supply chain opportunities such as foundation and turbine assembly as well as the workforce needed to support these activities in Maine.
The Governor said Aqua Ventus, the project expected to be the first floating offshore wind project in the US, is hoping to use the port to assemble the substructures and turbines for the project, that will be towed out to a demonstration test site off Monhegan Island.
In June 2019, Governor Mills signed into law LD 994, a resolve sponsored by Republican Senator David Woodsome, directing the Maine Public Utilities Commission to approve the contract for Aqua Ventus, which happened in late 2019.
Prior to the announcement, Governor Mills toured Mack Point Terminal and viewed onshore wind turbine components that have been delivered to the terminal for the Weaver Wind onshore project in Hancock County.
As a part of the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative, the state will also soon be launching a plan to engage with the commercial fishing industry to facilitate communication and solicit input to ensure that potential offshore developments consider the fishing industry and other maritime interests.