Governor signs into law Sen. Lawrence bill to responsibly explore wind energy development in Gulf of Maine

Posted: June 30, 2021 | Senator Lawrence

AUGUSTA — On Tuesday, June 22, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a bill from Sen. Mark Lawrence, D-Eliot. LD 336, “An Act To Encourage Research To Support the Maine Offshore Wind Industry,” will responsibly support the exploration of wind energy development in the Gulf of Maine.

“Maine is uniquely poised to be at the forefront of the offshore wind energy industry. But where this is a brand-new industry, we need to make sure it’s right for Maine. The project outlined in this bill will give us the information we need to move forward, while contributing to our renewable energy goals,” said Sen. Lawrence. “I’m grateful for all the discussion that has come up around this issue, and I’m eager to see where this exciting industry can do for Maine’s economy.”

As amended, LD 336 would direct the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to negotiate a long-term power purchase agreement necessary to facilitate the development and operations of the State of Maine’s floating offshore wind research array in the Gulf of Maine. This contract must be made in the public interest and further the state’s renewable energy goals. Additionally, the bill would require the PUC, in consultation with the Public Advocate and Governor’s Energy Office,  to submit a report by Feb. 1, 2022, regarding the technology, location and other options for creating transmission infrastructure for deployment of offshore wind energy generation.

“The offshore wind industry is expected to generate $1 trillion in global investments by 2040,” said  Dan Burgess, Director of the Governor’s Energy Office, in testimony supporting the bill. “With a growing number of projects in development along the Eastern coast of the U.S., and a clear directive from the federal government and states supporting offshore wind, the time for Maine to responsibly develop this renewable energy industry as an economic driver to create sustaining, good-paying jobs in engineering, construction, manufacturing, and more is now.”

Maine Conservation Voters,  Natural Resources Council of Maine and Maine Renewable Energy Association also testified in favor of the bill.

This new law will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.