Another Step Forward to Protect Our State for Future Generations

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.

Offshore wind offers our state a tremendous opportunity to harness abundant clean energy in our own backyard, and to create good-paying jobs and drive economic development, and reduce our over-reliance on costly fossil fuels and fight climate change.

But an important part of advancing offshore wind responsibly is to understand what impacts it might have on the environment, on our commercial fisheries, on recreational boating, and other things. 

That’s why, in 2020, we announced we would apply for a lease from the Federal government to build a “research array” – a small set of wind turbines in Federal waters that can help us determine the impacts of floating offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine.

Well, after a year of working with the fishing community, with research institutions, and environmental groups, and the offshore wind industry, Maine applied to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, to lease a roughly 15 square mile site in the Gulf of Maine—that’s out of 36,000 square miles in the Gulf of Maine—to develop the nation’s first floating offshore wind research site in federal waters.

We proposed a research array with no more than 12 turbines, using floating concrete platforms that were designed by the University of Maine. The research conducted at the array will be informed by the Maine Offshore Wind Research Consortium. That’s a group of experts we created with bipartisan support from the Legislature, and it includes people with expertise in commercial and recreational fisheries, marine wildlife and habitats and commercial offshore wind development, as well as scientists from public and private research institutions across Maine.

The Consortium has three principal goals:

  • First, to identify what opportunities and challenges will be created by the deployment of floating offshore wind projects in the Gulf of Maine.
  • Second, to determine what methods we can use to avoid or mitigate any impacts from floating offshore wind projects on the Gulf of Maine’s ecosystems and existing uses.
  • And thirdly, to establish ways that we make commercial floating offshore wind projects cost effective for the State of Maine.

Well, this week, BOEM – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management – granted our request. They’ve offered a lease to the state for a research array in the Gulf of Maine. This is a major milestone in our effort to responsibly advance offshore wind, to create good paying jobs, and to deliver clean, renewable energy that reduces fossil fuel dependency for people and businesses in the long term.

I am proud that Maine is already a world leader in the offshore wind industry. While my Administration reviews the proposed lease, we should all welcome this as another step forward in our efforts to protect the planet and our state for future generations.

This is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.