Developing and Implementing a Comprehensive Plan for the Offshore Wind Economy
“Maine is committed to the development of clean energy, the fight against climate change, and the pursuit of innovation to broaden and strengthen economic opportunities for our people. This important award will give Maine a roadmap for growing our clean energy economy in collaboration with our heritage industries, especially fishing, in order to support our state's economic recovery from COVID-19 and sound the call that Maine intends to be a global competitor, innovator and leader in floating offshore wind.”
- Maine Governor Janet Mills
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.”
The Roadmap, as part of the overall Maine Offshore Wind Initiative, will be developed through a collaborative stakeholder and engagement process and this effort will take a holistic approach to advance the offshore wind industry in the state. This work will include developing strategies to realize potential economic benefits in areas such as ports and infrastructure, manufacturing and supply chain, and workforce development. Importantly, 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.
GEO will lead an open, collaborative process to hear from a variety of public-private leaders and committed partners in industry, academia, coastal communities, fisheries and other ocean users.
Building on Maine’s national leadership on floating offshore wind technology, floating offshore wind will be a focus of the Roadmap, but fixed will also be included. The vast energy potential in the Gulf of Maine is offshore in federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), where due to water depths, new innovative floating technology will be required to unlock.
The outcome of the Roadmap will be strategies that assert a common vision to stand up a fully integrated offshore wind industry, which utilizes Maine’s assets – such as entrepreneurial small businesses, universities, and skilled labor – and a plan to prepare Maine’s workforce, and attract new talent, to participate in the offshore wind industry.
Launched in June 2019 by Governor Janet Mills, the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative aims to balance development of this new industry with our state’s maritime heritage and existing marine uses to ensure sustainable preservation of the natural resources in the Gulf of Maine.
The state’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy calls offshore wind a prime opportunity for growing Maine’s economy and encourages a balanced agenda that maximizes economic benefits for Maine people while creating a culture of innovation that gives Maine a leadership position in an industry expected to generate $1 trillion in global investment by 2040.
To fulfill this intent and recognize this opportunity, the Roadmap will bring together public-private leaders and committed partners in industry, academia, and coastal communities to assess Maine’s competitive advantage and the current state of the supply chain, infrastructure, and technology, and identify investments and gaps in infrastructure to best position the state to be a global leader in floating offshore wind and a regional center for supply chain operations.
Structure and Process
The GEO is developing a formal process for the Roadmap, in coordination with the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative as well as other state agencies, to ensure the continued collaboration among entities with the subject-matter expertise, practical experience, and professional interest necessary to responsibly advance offshore wind in the state. This process is expected to formally begin in the Spring 2021.
- Develop a comprehensive Roadmap for advancing the offshore wind industry in Maine that serves state and regional opportunities, attracts new public and private investment, and creates good paying jobs.
- Identify and prioritize offshore wind opportunities to maximize jobs, investment, new technologies and sustainability, while minimizing conflict with important existing maritime industries, particularly fishing.
- Build a strategy to advance a commercial market and enhance existing industrial supply chain in Maine, identify missing data/technical/infrastructure/training gaps and unlock existing potential that connects Maine to new opportunities – including matching opportunity and talent to grow the future of Maine’s skilled workforce.
- Develop a deeper understanding of existing ocean uses, especially commercial fishing, as well as habitat and environmental impacts and undertake collaborative research that help inform offshore wind planning and siting to mitigate potential impacts.
- Develop and implement a comprehensive engagement process for all relevant stakeholders to implement the vision and goals of the Roadmap.
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