• Under Development:   Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) has approved a term sheet to purchase power from Maine Aqua Ventus GP LLC. Maine Aqua Ventus is a consortium that includes Emera, Cianbro Corp., a Maine contractor, and Maine Prime Technologies LLC, a spinoff company representing the University of Maine. The consortium is developing a 12 MW, two-turbine offshore wind energy project, Maine Aqua Ventus, which will be located at an offshore test site south of Monhegan Island that is maintained by the University of Maine. Maine Aqua Ventus I, a pilot-scale offshore wind farm poised to harness the powerful wind resources of the Gulf of Maine, has received approval of its term sheet by MPUC. By approving of the Maine Aqua Ventus I term sheet, MPUC has agreed that the power produced by this project  in the Gulf of Maine will be purchased. In the Spring 2014 the DOE announced funding of $3 million for continued research and engineering for the Aqua Ventus project and as an alternate project for consideration of additional funding from the DOE should funding not be utilized by any of the three identified US offshore wind demonstration projects. In May 2016, the project became eligible for an additional $39.9 million in construction funding from the DOE, as long as the project continued to meet its milestones.

Past Projects

On October 12, 2011, Statoil North America submitted to the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) an unsolicited request for a commercial lease for its Hywind Maine pilot project, which would install four 3 MW floating wind turbines in a 22.2 square mile area on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore Maine.  The Statoil proposal also responded to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC).  The project was under cosideration as one of 7 final projects to receive funding from the US DOE for offshore wind demonstration projects. The location was approximately 460-520 feet in depth and 12 nautical miles from shore.  On August 9, 2012, BOEM released its notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the project and request for competitive interest (RFCI) to determine the appropriate leasing process. However, in the summer of 2013 Statoil announced that they were retracting their proposal for the project.

Policy, Planning, & Regulations

  • The Maine Offshore Wind Permitting Road Map was published in January 2013 in partnership by the Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative and E2Tech. The road map provides comprehensive guidance on the permitting procedures and requirements for the State of Maine and the US Federal Government.
  • Energy & Climate Change Planning:  A 2003 Maine law (P.L. 2003, chapter 237) established state goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within Maine to 1990 levels by 2010, and to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020.  The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) stated that Maine met the 2010 goal in its fifth biennial report.
  • Energy Demand/Incentives:  Maine’s renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) requires all electricity providers to supply by 2017 at least 40% of their total electric sales using electricity generated by eligible renewable and certain energy efficiency resources, with at least 10% of total sales from new renewable resources.
  • Technology Assessment & Development:  A 2009 Maine law (P.L. 2009, chapter 270) mandated state agencies to site up to five offshore wind energy test areas in Maine state waters by December 15, 2009.  Three sites have since been designated, including areas around Boon Island, Damariscove, and Monhegan Island.
  • Production Goal:  A 2010 Maine law (P.L. 2010, chapter 615), which implemented the recommendations of Governor John Baldacci’s Ocean Energy Task Force (OETF), established a state goal to develop at least 3,000 MW of offshore wind energy by 2020, and at least 5,000 MW of offshore wind energy by 2030.  The law also established leasing and permitting processes for offshore renewable power generation, and directed the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to solicit proposals for a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) for up to 25 MW of offshore wind energy.  The Maine PUC released its request for proposals (RFP) on September 1, 2010.  Statoil North America is negotiating with the PUC on terms and conditions for a contract to sell the output of its proposed Hywind floating wind turbine pilot project to designated Maine utilities.
  • Regional Ocean Management Planning:  Maine is a member of the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC).
  • Regional Electricity Transmission Planning:  Maine’s electricity transmission is coordinated by the Independent Service Operator- New England (ISO-NE) regional power grid, which is a member of the Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC).

Supporting & Complementary Assets/Infrastructure

  • R&D/Testing Facilities:  The DeepCWind Consortium, led by the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composite Center, focuses on the development of floating offshore wind farm technologies.  It has so far conducted thorough evaluations of more than fourteen different platform technologies submitted by designers from around the world.  The first intermediate-scale platform (capable of carrying a 100 kW turbine) will be fabricated and deployed at UMaine’s Deepwater Wind Test Site off Monhegan Island in the summer of 2012, with plans to build and deploy additional intermediate-scale platforms in 2013 and 2014.
  • Supply Chain:  Mid-coast Maine and the Penobscot Bay area— including the Searsport Terminal at Mack Point and nearby Sears Island, as well as the Eastern Manufacturing Facility on the Penobscot River — were identified in the 2011 Maine Deepwater Offshore Wind Report as possessing adequate facilities and capabilities to support early stage development of a floating offshore wind farm, including (1) suitable assembly and wet storage areas, with existing port infrastructure and potential industrial waterfront availability; (2) large, medium and small crane, barge and support vessels; (3) local resources for equipment and supplies; and, (4) local contractors and construction firms experienced with offshore construction and onshore wind.

Economic Fundamentals

  • Population:  1.3 million (0.4% of in US, 2016)¹
  • Population change (2010-2016):  0.2%²
  • Civilian labor force:  0.7 million (0.4% of US, 2017)¹
  • Median hourly wage (all occupations):  $17.01 (2016)³
  • State corporate income tax rate:  3.5% (for income up to $25,000), 8.93% (for income in excess of $250,000) (2017)⁴
  • Per capita personal income:  $44,316 (33rd in US, 2016)¹
  • Residential electricity prices:  16.18 cents/kWh (2017)¹
  • Commercial electricity prices:  12.09 cents/kWh (2017)¹
  • Industrial electricity prices:  9.19 cents/kWh (2017)¹
  • Total energy production: 142 trillion Btu (0.2% of US, 2015)¹
  • Net electricity generation:  947 thousand MWh (0.3% of US, 2017)¹
  • Total energy consumption per capita:  305 million Btu (26th in US, 2015)¹
  • Carbon dioxide emissions:  2,956 thousand metric tons (0.1% of US, 2015)¹
  • Sulfur dioxide emissions:  11 thousand metric tons (0.4% of US, 2015)¹
  • Nitrogen dioxide emissions: 8 thousand metric tons (0.4% of US, 2015)¹
  • Total estimated technical offshore wind potential generation:  411,184 GWh/yr (5.7% of US, 2016)⁵

References:  U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA)¹; U.S. Census Bureau²; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)³; Tax Foundation; and, U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)