Study of Searsport to Support and Develop Offshore Wind

In March 2020, Governor Janet Mills identified the Port of Searsport as a leading site in Maine to support the transportation, assembly and fabrication of offshore wind turbines and called for a study to further analyze this opportunity. 

That study is now underway by Moffat and Nichol, which is evaluating the port’s assets and future needs to support offshore wind, which require assets that exceed most typically available port infrastructure due to their substantial size.

This evaluation, called the Port Infrastructure and Market Potential Assessment, is a milestone for the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative, which aims to identify development opportunities for offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine, which has the most natural wind resources of any area off the East Coast.

Port needs specific to floating offshore wind turbines – which are most likely to be used in the Gulf of Maine due to its significant water depths – are included in the study. This aspect would allow Searsport to support New England AquaVentus, a partnership led by the University of Maine with Diamond Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Corp., and RWE Renewables, to build a full-scale floating offshore wind technology demonstration project off the Maine coast.

The evaluation will also include a market analysis of the East Coast offshore wind industry to understand the level of investment needed to support the hub in Maine, and the potential economic benefits that would ultimately result. The firm is expected to finish its evaluation by the end of 2020.

The Maine Department of Transportation, the Governor’s Energy Office, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, Mack Point terminal owner Sprague Operating Resources LLC, the Maine Port Authority, and the Town of Searsport are coordinating on the evaluation.

Maine’s second largest seaport, Searsport has served shipping and cargo needs since the 1700s. The Mack Point terminal is currently able to handle a diverse array of products including bulk piling, laydown, warehousing, liquid tank storage, and project cargo. A Searsport Intermodal Commodity Study (PDF) was completed in 2017 that will serve as a foundation for this report.

For more information on the study, please contact Celina Cunningham at Celina.Cunningham@maine.gov.