Governor Janet Mills, the first woman Governor of Maine, yesterday signed into law, LD 994, legislation that requires the Public Utilities Commission to approve the contract for Maine Aqua Ventus, the first of its kind demonstration project of offshore wind in the United States.
“With the innovative work being done at the University of Maine, our stage has the potential to lead the world in floating offshore wind development,” said Governor Mills. “This long-overdue bill will move us in that direction.
Governor Mills also announced today the State of Maine has accepted an invitation from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to participate in a federally-led Gulf of Maine Intergovernmental Regional Task Force on offshore with New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The Task Force, which involves government agencies, will seek to identify potential opportunities for renewable energy leasing and development on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Maine.
Additionally, Governor Mills announced that this summer she will direct the creation of the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative, a state-based initiative to identify offshore wind projects, including opportunities for job creation, supply chain and port development and offshore wind’s impact on Maine’s energy future. Importantly, the Initiative will also be charged with promoting compatibility between potential future uses and existing uses in the Gulf of Maine to inform offshore wind siting considerations and minimize any impact on Maine’s commercial fishing and maritime industries.
“Offshore wind representa a great opportunity for Maine’s energy future and our economy. The development of offshore used technology in Maine will create jobs, help us meet our energy needs with our own resources, and reduce carbon emissions in the process. The Maine Offshore Wind Initiative will lead to work,” Governor Mills continued. “Participating in the federal task force will also give Maine a seat at the table to ensure that development moves forward, with the least impact to commercial`fishing and other ocean-dependent industries.”
The Maine Aqua Ventus pilot project, supported by $39.9 million in grant funds from the US Department of Energy, will deploy floating turbines, designed by the University of Maine, off the coast of Maine. The floating platforms and other components will be assembled in Maine and once installed will provide clean energy to Maine and will provide a valuable demonstration for future development in Mane and elsewhere. (See above right photo of Dr. Habib Dagher, at the University of Maine, Orrono.
(editorial note: It appears that Governor Mills, the first women governor for Maine, is still busy undoing the damage done by the former governor of this state. MHN.com had the good fortune and pleasure to meet Dr. Habib Dagher at a conference on energy at USM, Portland, a few years ago – see above right photo).