Offshore Wind Lawsuit

A lift boat, right, that serves as a work platform, assembles a wind turbine on Aug. 15, 2016, off Block Island, R.I. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press, file

The Gulf of Maine, running from Cape Cod in the south to Nova Scotia in the north, has tremendous potential for wind power. Its development will play a major role in any plan that effectively moves the U.S. toward meeting its clean energy goals and staving off the worst of the climate crisis.

How best can our state to capitalize on this monumental and necessary transition – and protect Maine’s natural resources while doing so?

Some pretty good answers now sit before our elected officials.

One bill under consideration would require the state to purchase wind power produced offshore in the Gulf of Maine while mitigating the impact on ocean life and the lobster industry. Another would set standards for the creation of a port where offshore wind technology could be built and deployed.

Together, they would give Maine an opportunity to become a key player in an incredibly promising industry, with our own communities and their workers reaping the benefits.

If Maine doesn’t work to secure this, someone else will. To transition from fossil fuel to clean energy, the U.S. is going to have to produce a lot more electricity – enough to run all our lights and gadgets, our vehicles and heating systems.


There is almost no way of meeting that goal without using offshore wind, and the high and consistent wind speeds of the Gulf of Maine are capable of producing ample, dependable power. That makes Maine the ideal spot for building the massive concrete hulls on which the tall wind turbines float, and putting them out to sea.

Such an operation would be transformative for the coastal areas being considered for such ports – Sears Island, Searsport and Eastport – as well as Maine as a whole. One state report estimated that Maine could gain up to 33,000 short-term and 13,000 long-term jobs from the development of an offshore wind industry.

Some state along the East Coast is going to enjoy that investment. The Biden administration is preparing to auction leases in certain areas of the Gulf of Maine to power-producing companies next year, with the goal of powering 5 million American homes with floating wind power by 2035.

Along with that effort comes billions of dollars in federal funding for building out the port infrastructure, manufacturing capacity and supply chain necessary to support the floating offshore wind industry, which must be created almost from scratch.

By setting a clear plan on offshore wind, the bills now before Maine’s elected officials – including L.D. 1847, now on Gov. Mills’ desk, and L.D. 1895, which earlier this month was passed out of committee with a divided report – would make it easier for the state to attract federal funding and to build on the cutting-edge research led by the University of Maine.

The proposals also address some of the more major criticisms of offshore wind, including the potential threat posed to the lobster industry.


L.D. 1895 would require the state to purchase additional wind power in the years ahead. Such procurement schedules are a proven way to jumpstart commercial clean energy industries.

The bill simultaneously steers wind power development away from areas that are commonly used by the lobster industry, invests in fishing communities, and requires monitoring of the impact of wind power development on wildlife and the environment.

Even the lobster industry, which broadly opposes offshore wind power, sees this compromise as the best way forward if it can’t stop the placement of turbines altogether.

L.D. 1847, for its part, doesn’t say where Maine’s offshore wind port should be located – that’s being weighed by the Department of Transportation – but it does make sure the creation of such a port brings real benefits to workers and their communities.

Regardless of where the turbines are built, the development of offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine will help our state. It will lower our dependence on gas for power generation, reduce harmful emissions and save ratepayers money.

But this industry would be particularly valuable to some of our struggling coastal communities. It has the potential to become another major economic engine in a state that could use one.

There’s no doubt other states see this same opportunity. Maine must act quickly to make it ours.

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