ME - Strong Support for Maine-based offshore wind port
AUGUSTA — A unique coalition of organized labor and environmental groups that successfully passed a landmark offshore wind bill earlier this year is now signaling its unequivocal support for the responsible development of an offshore wind port on Maine’s coast.
The coalition, including Maine’s largest conservation groups and labor organizations, recently released the following statement highlighting the need for a port to meet the state’s climate goals, create new, good-paying jobs, and deliver the hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits that could flow from private sector investment in Maine’s burgeoning offshore wind industry.
“The time is now for Mainers to come together around a new offshore wind industry that can help free us from volatile oil and gas prices and address the threat of climate change. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop large amounts of home-grown clean energy in the Gulf of Maine using innovative technology that will be designed and built by Maine people.
"Building an offshore wind port in Maine is necessary to advance our climate goals, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and ensure a more just clean energy transition that strengthens our communities.
"To achieve this vision of powering our future with clean, reliable offshore wind we need to identify the best location for a world-class port in Maine to construct the floating wind turbines that will be used in the Gulf of Maine’s deep waters. Millions of dollars in federal funding are available to support clean energy port development that will in turn stimulate hundreds of millions of dollars in local economic benefits, including providing life-long careers for our youth, growing the tax base in our coastal communities, and leveraging much-needed investments in our ferries, roads, and schools.
"Maine communities are already experiencing the impacts of climate change head on, and we can’t afford to delay action any longer. Failing to build an offshore wind port will delay our ability to meet Maine’s climate and clean energy goals by a decade or more. To avert the worst impacts of climate change we need to bring large amounts of responsibly developed offshore wind online as soon as possible, and to do that we need a Maine offshore wind port.”
The following organizations signed onto the statement supporting a Maine-based offshore wind port:
Maine Labor Climate Council
Natural Resources Council of Maine
Maine Conservation Voters
Maine Climate Action Now
Conservation Law Foundation
Maine Youth for Climate Justice
Iron Workers Local 7
Laborers’ International Union Local 327
North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters/Local 349 & 352
Maine State Building and Construction Trades Council
Union of Concerned Scientists
Building a port to support the construction of floating offshore wind turbines and platforms can only be done in a few places in Maine, where there is deep water, enough space to lay down construction materials, and easy access to the Gulf of Maine, among other requirements.
An Offshore Wind Ports Advisory Group composed of representatives from local and statewide fishing, business, environmental and labor groups, municipalitiesi and others has been meeting for more than a year to learn about the potential impacts of different port sites, ask questions, and provide input.
In early 2022, the State of Maine assembled an Offshore Wind Port Advisory Group (OSWPAG) to serve as an advisor to the Maine Department of Transportation, the Governor’s Energy Office, and other state officials regarding the development of a wind port that will allow Maine to realize the environmental and economic benefits of the rapidly developing offshore wind market in a way that reflects community values and minimizes adverse impacts.
A formal recommendation from the Maine Department of Transportation on the most effective location for a port is expected soon, with additional opportunities for public input — including ongoing consultation with critically important stakeholders such as tribes, commercial fisheries, and Searsport and surrounding communities — during the formal permitting process over the following year.