Governor Mills has signed legislation to permanently bar future development of offshore wind projects in state waters. At the same time, momentum is building behind her plan to develop, for research purposes, a 16-square mile wind farm in federal waters off Maine.

A previously approved, single-turbine wind project off Monhegan Island is moving forward. But otherwise, the new law will bar any other wind-energy development within state waters – about three miles of the coast.

Mills had initially proposed only a 10-year moratorium, but agreed to make it permanent after lawmakers negotiated a deal that aimed to strengthen the position of Maine lobstermen who are watching the emerging offshore wind industry muscle into their territory.

That project will research the commercial viability of novel floating-platform technology developed at the University of Maine, and its potential effects on ecosystems and fisheries. As part of the legislative deal, the administration agreed to allow at least two representatives of the lobster industry to be included on a panel that will guide the research.

The project will be developed by major international energy companies and funded by Maine electricity consumers. The legislative package allows for state regulators to accept above-market prices, but at the “lowest reasonable cost” needed to make sure the project can get financing needed for construction and operation.

Meanwhile, the state is also formally launching a multi-year process to create a “Roadmap” for large-scale commercial wind development off Maine. Critics say that should have been done before moving the research project forward.

Megan Diver

Megan has worked in Maine politics for more than ten years and all of her professional career, having served in many roles for elected officials (including former Secretary of State Charlie Summers), in-house with the Maine Association of REALTORS®, legislative specialist at Pierce Atwood LLP providing lobbying services and support to Pierce Atwood’s government relations clients and most recently senior government relations specialist at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. Megan currently is the Vice President at the Maine Energy Marketers Association, utilizing her vast knowledge and legislative experience at the State House to represent MEMA on policies relating to the Association and its members.