Governor Signs Legislation Prohibiting Offshore Wind Projects in State Waters


Governor Janet T Mills, Maine’s First Woman Governor.

Governor Janet T. Mills has signed into Law LD 1619, which prohibits new offshore wind projects in State waters.  The prohibition preserves State waters for recreational and fishing – where up to 75% of Maine’s commercial lobster harvesting occurs – and cements into law Maine’s priority of locating offshore wind projects in Federal waters in the Gulf of Maine.  This new law comes after Governor Mills last month signed into law another bid, LD 336, which advances the State’s creation of the nation’s first research area for floating offshore wind in Federal waters in the Gulf of Maine.

The Governor applauded the strong bipartisan support from the Maine Legislature to advance Maine’s unique position to grow a global offshore wind industry, which will create good-paying jobs for Maine people, support Maine’s transition to 100 percent renewable energy, and help fight climate change.

The new law also reflects the Mills Administration careful approach to offshore wind and stems from extensive discussions among the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) and Department of Marine Resources with fishing, wildlife, and environmental organizations aimed at responsibly preserving offshore wind and co-existence with Maine State maritime history.

The Gulf of Maine is home to some of the highest sustained wind speeds in the world.  This makes offshore, a source of clean, renewable energy, a critical tool for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by reducing Maine’s nation-leading dependence on heating oil, aiding the expansion of clean transportation and clean heating solution, and keeping here at home some of the more than $4 billion Maine people spend annually to import fossil guels.

Maine is also uniquely prepared to create good-paying trades and technology jobs across the State in offshore wind, by advancing the University of Maine’s innovative floating offshore wind technology, forging public-private partnerships for research, development and workforce training investing in Maine’s deep-water ports.  Recent studies have indicated offshore wind represents a nearly $70 billion opportunity in the next decade.

The Administration is proposing a smaller-scale array, which will contain up to 12 turbines that plan to use innovative floating platform technology developed by University of Maine and a public private partnership with New England Aqua Ventus, a joint venture of two leading global offshore wind companies, Diamond RWE and Mitisibishi.

“The moratorium will protect Maine’s fisheries and coastal waters and maintain Maine’s status as a leader in developing clean energy and fighting climate change.  Maine can continue to prioritize offshore wind in the Federal waters of the Gulf of Maine, which is home to some of the  highest sustained wind speeds in the world,” said Senator Mark Lawrence, bill sponsor and Chair of the Energy, Utilities and Technical Committee.

For more background information on the subject, please visit posts herein dated June 20, 2019 and April 9, 2021 herein.