Maine Builds International Recognition for Wind Energy

By Ramona du Houx

September 10th, 2010 

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Author Paul Williamson discusses The Baltic I Offshore Wind Farm with crew
If you ever travel worldwide you recognize that Maine is not often included in international discussions. However, Maine is developing a very strong international reputation for wind energy. At the recent North Atlantic Offshore conference in Rostock Germany, Maine was repeatedly referenced in presentations by European and American representatives.

The recognition comes from a number of combining factors. Maine is establishing itself as a leader in research and development for floating offshore wind turbines. But also, Maine is recognized as a Leader in North East US wind development onshore with a government dedicated to streamline permitting and overwhelming public support. All participants of the summit agree that onshore development is an important step in developing capabilities to move offshore. The results are international attention with the potential for strong foreign investment leading to local economic growth in Maine.

Rostock is located in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on the Baltic Sea in North Eastern Germany. The surrounding region is very similar to Maine with heritage in shipbuilding, seafood, forestry, agriculture and tourism. And like Maine, this region has seen declines in traditional industries in recent decades. Despite that trend, wind power has been a significant economic development engine for the area. The State now has approximately 1200MW of wind energy installed. In the coming weeks the local Baltic One offshore wind farm will become operational.

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Over 30 Wind Turbines can be seen around Rostock such as these which are less than one mile from the city center.
State of Maine is pursuing the same path by currently developing wind energy onshore and eventually developing wind energy offshore. Wind energy is still new to Maine and there have been some vocalized concerns and questions. The value of visiting areas like Rostock allows us to learn from the experiences of those that have gone before…and seeing is believing. The region has experience significant wind job growth as they near 20% wind energy generation. Meanwhile, the while the whole of the EU needs to develop all forms of energy, due to the installation of wind energy both coal and nuclear energy developments have decreased.

The growth in international recognition is an important step in the road to attract investment to Maine that will create new economic opportunities, while also showing leadership providing clean renewable energy for the nation.

Paul Williamson,
Director and Industry Coordinator
Maine Wind Industry Initiative