Offshore wind power could be the power source for Maine’s clean energy future. Winds blowing off the Maine coast could provide 35.9 times that amount of electricity each year than the state currently uses, according to a report released last week by Environment Maine.
“We’re facing rising seas, intensifying storms and old and new health threats because we’ve relied so long on dirty energy sources,” said Jacqueline Guyol, Campaign Organizer, of Environment Maine. “But sitting right here next to us is the Atlantic coast and its massive source of totally clean power. Let’s just say ‘thank you,’ Mother Nature and do what we should have done in the first place – harness the wind.”
While offshore wind is a proven technology overseas, it has been slow to take off here in the United States. To date, only one wind farm is operating in the United States, off the coast of Rhode Island. Meanwhile, Europe hosts 4,100 offshore wind turbines that supply enough electricity to power more than 20 million homes each day. But more American offshore wind is on the horizon. There are now 13 leased offshore wind projects moving forward in the United States, which could provide enough electricity to power approximately 5.2 million homes.
“Offshore wind presents a tremendous opportunity for Maine to grow its economy and decrease its dependence on polluting sources of energy,” said Sean Mahoney, Executive Vice-President of the Conservation Law Foundation. “Unfortunately, the LePage administration has done everything it could to hamstring seizing that opportunity, including driving away one of the world’s leading energy companies who was willing to make a multi-million dollar investment in Maine waters. Fortunately the end is nigh for that administration and with the proper leadership, Maine can still take advantage of the enormous potential identified in this report. Proper siting of offshore wind power projects to respect existing uses will be critical to their success.”
The fascinating report written by Gideon Weissman & Rachel J. Cross, of Frontier Group, may be read on-line at Environment Maine’s web page.