Maine has enough offshore wind power potential to serve over 30 million homes – but it’s in water too deep to utilize current turbine technology that needs to be fixed to the seafloor. As floating turbine technology advances, Maine and areas like the west coast of the U.S. with similar depth challenges will be increasingly viable for development. This timeline shows what interest has been expressed in developing wind power off Maine’s shores.
- January 2021: Governor Mills sent a letter to Maine fishermen and fishing organizations naming her intention to explore offshore wind development in federal waters and to submit legislation that will create a 10-year moratorium on any new projects in state waters wind energy development. The letter also named that she extended the timeline for input on the pre-application phase of the research array to get more input from the fishing industry, and the formation of a working group of impacted fishing industry members to inform the siting process and research plan with the goal of reducing impacts. Learn more.
- November 2020: New England Aqua Ventus LLC began searching for vendors, creating an online supply chain portal.
- November 2020: Governor Mills announced the state will apply for a research lease from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to secure a location for a 12 floating wind turbine array that will generate crucial data for understanding the marine impacts of floating wind in the North Atlantic. Learn more.
- October 2020: The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded a $2.166 million grant to Maine’s Governor’s Energy Office to develop a roadmap for establishing an offshore wind power industry. Learn more.
- August 2020: University of Maine enters into a $147 million public-private offshore wind venture with New England Aqua Ventus LLC and Diamond Offshore Wind to show the feasibility of a full-scale, floating wind turbine in deep water. Learn more.
- November 2019: Maine Public Utilities Commission approved energy contract for Aqua Ventus. Learn more.
- September 2019: The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved an energy and water funding bill that included research and development projects at the University of Maine includes support for research and development of the Aqua Ventus project at the University of Maine.
- August 2019: Five East Coast Governors, including Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Virginia sent a letter to Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressing their support for offshore wind power. Learn more.
- June 2019: Governor Janet Mills signed into law LD 994, legislation that required the Public Utilities Commission to approve the contract for Maine Aqua Ventus, the first of its kind demonstration project of floating offshore wind in the United States. Learn more.
- December 2012: BOEM published a Notice of Determination of No Competitive Interest (DNCI), thereby announcing BOEM’s decision to proceed with a noncompetitive lease process for the proposed lease area offshore Maine. Since then, Statoil has withdrawn its lease request. There are no offshore renewable energy projects in Federal waters offshore Maine at this time.
- August 2012: BOEM published a notice for Potential Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Maine; Request for Interest and a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Potential Commercial Wind Lease Issuance and Approval of Construction and Operations Plan Offshore Maine. The notices came with a request for public comment, which ended in October 2012 and November 2012, respectively.
- October 2011: Statoil North America submitted a request to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for a commercial lease on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
- For maps and the latest updates on the federal offshore wind leasing and permitting process off the coast of Maine, visit the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management‘s Maine page.
- Learn about pioneering research and development of a demonstration project underway at the University of Maine by Maine Aqua Ventus I, GP, LLC – a 12 MW floating offshore wind pilot project called New England Aqua Ventus I.