If approved, it would be the country’s first floating offshore wind research site located in federal waters.
MAINE, United States – On October 1, the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) submitted a request to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to lease federal ocean waters to be used for floating offshore wind research. The GEO has requested a 15.2 square mile offshore area in the Gulf of Maine. If approved, it would be the country’s first floating offshore wind research site located in federal waters.
Habib Dagher, Ph.D., executive director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine, said their plan was to first build a single turbine off Monhegan Island from here 2024. This turbine would be the only one authorized in the State of Maine. waters, according to a bill signed by Governor Mills in July. The bill prevents the deployment of new offshore wind turbines in state waters, located within 3 miles of the coastline.
Once this turbine is installed and tested, the next step is to launch the Maine Research Array, or the request just submitted by the Governor’s Energy Office.
This project, if approved, would deploy no more than 12 floating wind turbines developed and created at the Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory at the University of Maine.
The laboratory has a wave basin and a wind turbine that simulates powerful and violent storms. It allows researchers at the university to test how these wind turbines would operate in ocean waters under various conditions.
If approved, these floating wind turbines would be installed at least 28 miles from the nearest continental point of Cape Small in Sagadahoc County, 23 miles south of Monhegan Island and 45 miles off the coast of Portland.
The site would allow researchers to take a closer look at how these turbines affect Maine’s marine life and fishing industry.
“If we harness just 3% of the offshore wind resources in the Gulf of Maine, we can heat every home in Maine and drive every car,” Dagher said.
Dagher said there are a number of benefits to using this energy source statewide.
“We can create thousands of jobs, we can clean up the environment, we can be self-reliant on our own resources in Maine instead of having to buy oil … At the same time, we’re going to have a profound impact on our environmental footprint as a state, ”said Dagher.
Dagher said he hoped a decision would be made by the Bureau of Ocean Management on the lease application within a year.
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