The Governor of Maine on Friday applied to the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to lease 15 square miles nearly 30 miles offshore in the Gulf of Maine to develop America’s first floating offshore wind research site in federal waters. The site was selected to minimize known potential impacts on the fishing industry.
The State hopes to deploy a small-scale research array of 12 or fewer wind turbines on floating hulls designed at the University of Maine.
The project, first announced in July this year, is intended to foster research into how floating offshore wind interacts with Maine’s marine environment, fishing industry, shipping and navigation routes.
Maine Governor Janet Mills signed An Act To Encourage Research To Support the Maine Offshore Wind Industry in June. In July, she signed further legislation prohibiting new offshore wind projects in State waters, which extend three miles from shore. The legislation also established an offshore wind research consortium, which will include members of Maine’s fishing industry, marine scientists, offshore wind industry experts, and others to oversee research priorities for the array.
The research array is one element of the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative, a multi-faceted approach created in 2019 to pursue a responsible path for offshore wind in the state.
It is expected to take several years before all permitting is secured and construction could begin at the site.