Partnership Will Work to Streamline Development of New Energy Resource

By Ramona du Houx –

June 8, 2010 ·

In the spring Governor John Baldacci was invited to Washington D.C. to establish the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium. Today Baldacci along with nine other coastal states and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar signed a Memorandum of Understanding to streamline the process for siting deep-water wind energy systems on the Outer Continental Shelf.

“This is an important step for coordinating the efforts of coastal states and the federal government to develop offshore wind energy,” said Governor Baldacci. “Work going on in Maine and at the University of Maine positions our State to be a national leader in the development of offshore wind technology. With this agreement, Maine also has the potential to showcase a new streamlined permitting process that could significantly reduce the amount of time required for review.”

Secretary Salazar announced the agreement at Capitol Hill Oceans Week 2010 in Washington, D.C.

“I am very pleased to be joining with the governors of Atlantic coastal states to promote the safe and environmentally responsible development of the exceptional wind energy resources off our coasts,” said Secretary Salazar in a Department of Interior press release. “Appropriate development of Outer Continental Shelf wind power will enhance regional and national energy security and create American jobs through the development of energy markets and investments in renewable energy technologies.”

To advance the efficient, safe and responsible development of offshore wind, the participants will work cooperatively to produce specific recommendations for an improved process.

Until now it took nine years to permit offshore wind sites, under regulations formulated by the Bush Administration. As a result investors would not take the risk. During the same time offshore oil rig regulations were streamlined.

This spring Cape Wind in Massachusetts became the first offshore wind site to be approved, in America. Europe has over 800 offshore wind platforms.

Maine has plans, working with the federal government, to erect the first floating offshore wind platforms which will be beyond the horizon, so they are not visible.

The nine other states in the Atlantic Offshore Wind Consortium are: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.