ME - Developing Floating Offshore Wind Can Help Protect Maine's Seafaring Culture, Marine Environment
The January 11 op-ed published here by Jack Merrill of the Maine Lobstermen's Association was critical of offshore wind in Maine. As environmental, clean energy, and community advocates, we are responding with some additional perspective.
In November, Gov. Mills proposed the selection of a yet-to-be-determined 16-square mile area located some 20 to 40 miles off the coast to test and research floating offshore wind technology. Developed in close coordination with Maine's fishing industry and other critical stakeholders to study potential economic and environmental impacts, the goal of the research turbines is to help Mainers understand how we could benefit from the ample wind resources offshore.
As part of that effort, Gov. Mills also recently proposed a 10-year moratorium on any new wind development in state waters up to three miles off the coast, keeping the focus on projects in federal waters, a ways from Maine’s coast.
As Mainers supportive of further research on the potential economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind, as well as supporters of a vibrant and long-lasting fishing and lobstering industry in Maine, we are responding to Mr. Merrill's assertions with additional facts. Our response is focused on the two main pillars of Mr. Merrill's opposition: the potential environmental impacts of floating offshore wind development and the potential cultural and economic benefits.
Climate change is the most serious threat to Maine’s economy and environment and harnessing offshore wind is critical to addressing it and protecting our state for generations to come. By harnessing the wind power from a very small fraction of the Gulf of Maine, we can power Maine’s economy and enable the clean electrification of heating and transportation.