Making History in Boothbay
In 2008, two important things happened in Maine that would set our state on a path of innovation and leadership in the emerging field of clean energy: Maine’s state government launched the Ocean Energy Task Force, and the University of Maine began research on floating offshore wind technologies as a solution to Maine’s overdependence on fossil fuels.
The renewable energy revolution hadn’t yet taken off in the United States, but Maine was ahead of the curve. With foresight and Maine ingenuity, our leaders, scientists, and researchers saw the opportunity to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, combat climate change, and create energy security for Maine people using technology developed and built right here in our backyard. Today, after nearly fifteen years of dedication, study, and collaboration, Maine is ready to deploy the first full-scale floating offshore wind turbine in the U.S.
The Boothbay region is the connection point and plays a pivotal role in making this historic Maine project possible. Here’s a look back at how Maine people have paved the way for this major milestone toward our clean energy future:
Governor Baldacci issues Executive Order establishing the Governor’s Task Force on Wind Power Development in Maine with the objectives of making Maine a wind leader, protecting Maine’s environment, and maximizing benefits to Maine people.
UMaine began research on floating offshore wind technologies as a solution to Maine’s overdependence on fossil fuels.
Maine Legislature passes LD 2283: An Act to Implement Recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Wind Power Development, which includes the potential for 300 MW of offshore wind energy.
Governor Baldacci establishes the Ocean Energy Task Force to develop a strategy aimed at meeting or exceeding the goal for ocean-based wind power.
Maine Legislature passes LD 1465: An Act to Facilitate Testing and Demonstration of Renewable Ocean Energy Technology
Maine State Planning Office begins holding public meetings with stakeholders including fisherman, land trusts, and island communities to identify potential sites for testing UMaine’s offshore wind technology.
Following an extensive public outreach process conducted by the State of Maine, the UMaine test site south of Monhegan Island was selected due to its distance from the mainland, strong and consistent winds, limited number of fishermen, and proximity to an island with high energy costs. More than five years of ecological and environmental surveys have been conducted, making the test site one of the most extensively studied locations in the Gulf of Maine.
UMaine publishes the Maine Offshore Wind Report, examining economics and policy, electrical grid integration, wind and wave, bathymetric, soil, and environmental research.
University of Maine makes history when it deployed the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in the United States, a one-eighth scale version of its patented VolturnUS technology.
Maine Legislature passes LD 1472: An Act to Provide for Economic Development with Offshore Wind Power.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission under Governor LePage approves term sheet for the UMaine floating offshore wind test site and pursues an agreement for the purchase and sale of renewable energy from the pilot project. This project is the progression of development of UMaine’s patented VolturnUS technology.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission under Governor Mills approves the Power Purchase Agreement for the UMaine Test Site, now the single-turbine offshore wind demonstration project that will deliver clean renewable energy to the Maine grid through the Boothbay connection.
Maine Economic Development Strategy 2020-2029 identifies offshore wind as a critical opportunity to grow Maine’s economy.
UMaine and New England Aqua Ventus (NEAV) partner in developing the single-turbine offshore wind demonstration project at the UMaine Test Site.
Cable work and construction is scheduled to begin on the single-turbine offshore wind demonstration project. This historic project is estimated to generate more than $125 million in local economic activity and create hundreds of good-paying Maine-based jobs during construction.