News Release

REPORT: Offshore Wind is Next Clean Energy Wave for Maine

For Immediate Release

 

Portland, ME  – Up and down the Atlantic coast, states and wind developers are making significant progress in advancing offshore wind projects, according to a new report, released today. The report finds that up to six gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind projects have been proposed along the Atlantic coast – the equivalent of about five coal-fired power plants and enough to power about 1.5 million average U.S. homes annually. Based on government analysis, the Atlantic Ocean has significant offshore wind potential, with over 212 GW of wind resources in shallow waters alone – and many times that amount if deeper waters can be developed.

 Here in Maine, the report finds a total 15.6 GW of wind potential in shallow water, 6 GW of which are commercially viable when environmental and socioeconomic limits are taken into account. Maine is taking many steps to become a leader in deepwater offshore wind power, already leading in research, testing, and development. The state has set a goal of developing 5 GW – or 5,000 megawatts (MW) – of deepwater wind by 2030, starting with a 25 MW demonstration project over the next several years.

 “984 offshore wind turbines are spinning right now in Europe and not one in the Atlantic,” said Catherine Bowes from the National Wildlife Federation. “The six gigawatts of proposed Atlantic offshore wind projects are a great start, but we need a coordinated and comprehensive effort to bring these and other projects over the finish line in a way that values precious ocean ecosystem, including fisheries and other natural resources in the Gulf of Maine. This new industry holds great potential to create jobs, cut pollution, and reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels.”

 

“Mainers can beat our dangerous dependence on oil, gas, and coal by embracing our enormous opportunity for clean energy,” said Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Onshore wind power plays a critical role in our transition to a clean energy economy. We need to continue to work together – state and federal governments, environmental and business interests – to put Maine on a path toward large amounts of offshore wind power.”

 One of the report co-sponsors is the Maine Wind Industry Initiative (MWII), an association of manufacturers, suppliers, construction and engineering firms, researchers, and others who are interested in advancing wind power on- and offshore. “We’ve already taken steps to lead New England in onshore wind power, which has helped Maine businesses large and small thrive—even through a recession,” said Paul Williamson, MWII Executive Director. “If we can continue on this path, offshore wind will present an even larger opportunity to grow Maine’s economy.”

 The report, Offshore Wind in the Atlantic: Growing Momentum for Jobs, Energy Independence, Clean Air, and Wildlife Protection, makes the following key findings:

  • Every state with significant offshore wind resources from Maine to Georgia has taken some steps forward on offshore wind. Northern states (Maine to Maryland) have the most advanced projects while Southern states (Virginia to Georgia) are quickly mobilizing on a series of projects. See state profiles. 
  • The Atlantic’s shallow water characteristics combined with excellent wind speed make it an ideal location for offshore wind farms. 93 percent of offshore wind projects worldwide are in shallow waters (zero to 30 meters deep). Close to half of the United States’ shallow water offshore wind is along the Atlantic coast.
  • While the most extensive European study concluded that offshore wind farms do not appear to have long-term or large-scale ecological impacts, there are still major data gaps for the Atlantic Ocean and site-specific impacts need to be evaluated. A coordinated, comprehensive, and well-funded effort is needed to address these gaps and improve the permitting process.

“Maine has taken many important steps to lay the groundwork for leadership in offshore wind, including important legislation on siting, permitting and leasing,” said Parker Hadlock, General Manager of Wind Energy Services at Cianbro and a member of the Governor’s Ocean Energy Task Force. “The state has designated test sites, supported research and development at the University, and issued a Request for Proposals for the first commercial project. It is imperative that we continue to lay the groundwork for the future of our kids as it relates to energy independence and national security, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability. The way to do that is to build the first offshore installation in the U.S. and lead the way to the electric economy.” 

 "Offshore wind development presents a tremendous job creation opportunity for Maine,” stated Don Berry, President of Maine’s AFL-CIO. “In these difficult economic times, wind power is one of  the most promising games in town to create quality, high-paying jobs here at home. Our members stand ready and willing to take advantage of these new jobs and help lead America in this exciting new direction."

 “Maine’s development of onshore wind projects has been good news for our ports, which have handled a significant flow of turbines and equipment,” said John Henshaw, Executive Director of the Maine Port Authority. “Searsport is now the tenth largest port in the U.S. for wind turbine imports. If Maine achieves its vision of major offshore wind development, it will be great news for our ports and all the skilled workers, companies, and infrastructure we have along the coast.”

 “Offshore wind is the wave of the future,” said Sean Mahoney, vice-president of the Conservation Law Foundation and a member of the Governor’s Ocean Energy Task Force. “By tapping into abundant, clean offshore wind energy resources, we can move Maine off its dependence on fossil fuels to heat our homes and power our vehicles, getting us off the fossil fuel price rollercoaster and removing a primary source of climate change. The Gulf of Maine is ideally situated to show the rest of the country how to seize the potential of offshore wind energy instead of drilling for dirty and dangerous oil resources that put our fisheries and climate in peril.”

 “By harnessing the vast, untapped wind resources off our coast, Maine can reduce its dirty, unpredictable, and dangerous dependence on oil. This report makes it clear that offshore wind is ready to take off in Maine, but the Obama Administration needs to clear the runway,” said Environment Maine Director Emily Figdor.

 “As long as some of the top importers of oil into the United States are countries like Russia, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia – countries with policies that are often anti-American, and as long as we continue to get Middle Eastern oil that largely passes through a strait controlled by Iran, we will continue to fund both sides of the war on terrorism,” said Andrew Campbell, an Iraq war veteran with Operation Free.

 The report was released along the coast today in conjunction with over 40 national and state partners including environmental, sportsmen, labor, and business organizations. These groups call on the federal government to take the following steps: 

  • Improve the offshore wind permitting process, 
  • Identify ideal, high priority sites with limited resource conflicts off of the Atlantic for quick and thorough permitting, 
  • Invest in and speed research of offshore wind technology and environmental impacts, and 
  • Coordinate planning with existing infrastructure and industries such as ports and fishing.

Portland, ME (December 1, 2010) – Up and down the Atlantic coast, states and wind developers are making significant progress in advancing offshore wind projects, according to a new report, released today. The report finds that up to six gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind projects have been proposed along the Atlantic coast – the equivalent of about five coal-fired power plants and enough to power about 1.5 million average U.S. homes annually. Based on government analysis, the Atlantic Ocean has significant offshore wind potential, with over 212 GW of wind resources in shallow waters alone – and many times that amount if deeper waters can be developed.

 Here in Maine, the report finds a total 15.6 GW of wind potential in shallow water, 6 GW of which are commercially viable when environmental and socioeconomic limits are taken into account. Maine is taking many steps to become a leader in deepwater offshore wind power, already leading in research, testing, and development. The state has set a goal of developing 5 GW – or 5,000 megawatts (MW) – of deepwater wind by 2030, starting with a 25 MW demonstration project over the next several years.

 “984 offshore wind turbines are spinning right now in Europe and not one in the Atlantic,” said Catherine Bowes from the National Wildlife Federation. “The six gigawatts of proposed Atlantic offshore wind projects are a great start, but we need a coordinated and comprehensive effort to bring these and other projects over the finish line in a way that values precious ocean ecosystem, including fisheries and other natural resources in the Gulf of Maine. This new industry holds great potential to create jobs, cut pollution, and reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels.”

 “Mainers can beat our dangerous dependence on oil, gas, and coal by embracing our enormous opportunity for clean energy,” said Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Onshore wind power plays a critical role in our transition to a clean energy economy. We need to continue to work together – state and federal governments, environmental and business interests – to put Maine on a path toward large amounts of offshore wind power.”

 One of the report co-sponsors is the Maine Wind Industry Initiative (MWII), an association of manufacturers, suppliers, construction and engineering firms, researchers, and others who are interested in advancing wind power on- and offshore. “We’ve already taken steps to lead New England in onshore wind power, which has helped Maine businesses large and small thrive—even through a recession,” said Paul Williamson, MWII Executive Director. “If we can continue on this path, offshore wind will present an even larger opportunity to grow Maine’s economy.”

 The report, Offshore Wind in the Atlantic: Growing Momentum for Jobs, Energy Independence, Clean Air, and Wildlife Protection, makes the following key findings:

Every state with significant offshore wind resources from Maine to Georgia has taken some steps forward on offshore wind. Northern states (Maine to Maryland) have the most advanced projects while Southern states (Virginia to Georgia) are quickly mobilizing on a series of projects. See state profiles. 

The Atlantic’s shallow water characteristics combined with excellent wind speed make it an ideal location for offshore wind farms. 93 percent of offshore wind projects worldwide are in shallow waters (zero to 30 meters deep). Close to half of the United States’ shallow water offshore wind is along the Atlantic coast.

While the most extensive European study concluded that offshore wind farms do not appear to have long-term or large-scale ecological impacts, there are still major data gaps for the Atlantic Ocean and site-specific impacts need to be evaluated. A coordinated, comprehensive, and well-funded effort is needed to address these gaps and improve the permitting process.

“Maine has taken many important steps to lay the groundwork for leadership in offshore wind, including important legislation on siting, permitting and leasing,” said Parker Hadlock, General Manager of Wind Energy Services at Cianbro and a member of the Governor’s Ocean Energy Task Force. “The state has designated test sites, supported research and development at the University, and issued a Request for Proposals for the first commercial project. It is imperative that we continue to lay the groundwork for the future of our kids as it relates to energy independence and national security, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability. The way to do that is to build the first offshore installation in the U.S. and lead the way to the electric economy.” 

 "Offshore wind development presents a tremendous job creation opportunity for Maine,” stated Don Berry, President of Maine’s AFL-CIO. “In these difficult economic times, wind power is one of  the most promising games in town to create quality, high-paying jobs here at home. Our members stand ready and willing to take advantage of these new jobs and help lead America in this exciting new direction."

 “Maine’s development of onshore wind projects has been good news for our ports, which have handled a significant flow of turbines and equipment,” said John Henshaw, Executive Director of the Maine Port Authority. “Searsport is now the tenth largest port in the U.S. for wind turbine imports. If Maine achieves its vision of major offshore wind development, it will be great news for our ports and all the skilled workers, companies, and infrastructure we have along the coast.”

 “Offshore wind is the wave of the future,” said Sean Mahoney, vice-president of the Conservation Law Foundation and a member of the Governor’s Ocean Energy Task Force. “By tapping into abundant, clean offshore wind energy resources, we can move Maine off its dependence on fossil fuels to heat our homes and power our vehicles, getting us off the fossil fuel price rollercoaster and removing a primary source of climate change. The Gulf of Maine is ideally situated to show the rest of the country how to seize the potential of offshore wind energy instead of drilling for dirty and dangerous oil resources that put our fisheries and climate in peril.”

 “By harnessing the vast, untapped wind resources off our coast, Maine can reduce its dirty, unpredictable, and dangerous dependence on oil. This report makes it clear that offshore wind is ready to take off in Maine, but the Obama Administration needs to clear the runway,” said Environment Maine Director Emily Figdor.

 “As long as some of the top importers of oil into the United States are countries like Russia, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia – countries with policies that are often anti-American, and as long as we continue to get Middle Eastern oil that largely passes through a strait controlled by Iran, we will continue to fund both sides of the war on terrorism,” said Andrew Campbell, an Iraq war veteran with Operation Free.

 The report was released along the coast today in conjunction with over 40 national and state partners including environmental, sportsmen, labor, and business organizations. These groups call on the federal government to take the following steps: 

Improve the offshore wind permitting process, 

Identify ideal, high priority sites with limited resource conflicts off of the Atlantic for quick and thorough permitting, 

Invest in and speed research of offshore wind technology and environmental impacts, and 

Coordinate planning with existing infrastructure and industries such as ports and fishing.

 

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The National Wildlife Federation is America's largest conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.