The U.S. state of Maine is set to examine the Mack Port Terminal in Searsport for opportunities to support the local offshore wind sector.
The assessment will review current site characteristics, provide an analysis of potential port users and identify structural improvements or capital investments that may be needed.
Additional analysis and review will be undertaken to review offshore wind supply chain opportunities such as foundation and turbine assembly, as well as the workforce needed to support these activities in Maine.
The examination, called the Port Infrastructure and Market Potential Assessment, will be led by the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT), the Governor’s Energy Office, and the Department of Economic and Community Development as a part of the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative.
Maine Aqua Ventus, the project set to be the first floating offshore wind project in the country, is also planning for approval to use the port to assemble the hull that will be towed out to the demonstration test site off Monhegan Island.
“Offshore wind is poised to become a $1 trillion industry by 2040, creating thousands of good-paying jobs, providing clean renewable energy, and spurring economic growth. With our existing port infrastructure and proximity to both European and east coast markets, Maine is well-positioned to become a leader in the offshore wind industry just as Scotland has,” said Governor Janet Mills.
“Searsport has been critical for the delivery and deployment of onshore wind in New England for years. My Administration will evaluate how the Port can do the same for offshore wind. I look forward to the results of this assessment and charting a path forward for this industry in Maine.”
The announcement follows the Governor’s visit to Scotland last week as a member of a U.S. state and federal delegation organized by the UK government to learn more about offshore wind.
In June 2019, Mills signed into law legislation requiring the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve the power purchase contract for Maine Aqua Ventus, after delaying the decision on the agreement in 2018 to allow more time for public comment.
The 20-year power purchase agreement for the project was signed at the end of last year.
Maine Aqua Ventus will deploy two 6MW turbines on VolturnUS, the floating concrete semi-submersible hull designed by the University of Maine (UMaine).