A bill to jumpstart a new offshore wind industry for Maine was approved last week by the Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee and now heads to the full Legislature for consideration.

LD 1895, will generate a historic investment in affordable and reliable clean energy to power Maine’s homes, businesses, and transportation.

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The bill includes strong labor standards to ensure new offshore wind jobs are well-paying and family-sustaining, resources to protect the rich array of wildlife in the Gulf of Maine, and key provisions from the fishing and lobstering industry to incentivize offshore wind development outside key fishing grounds.

The opportunity presented by responsible offshore wind development has brought together a winning coalition of labor and conservation groups, who urged the full Legislature to pass the bill quickly so Maine can take advantage of the billions of dollars in private sector investment that would flow into the state’s ports, communities, and workforce.

Jack Shapiro, Climate & Clean Energy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine said:

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a whole new industry for Maine that will buffer us against volatile energy prices, create thousands of new jobs, and provide the clean energy we need to power the future.

Kelt WIlska, Energy Justice Manager at Maine Conservation Voters added.

Maine needs offshore wind power, and we need offshore wind power that’s developed responsibly. That’s exactly what this bill does.

Maine Audubon’s Director of Advocacy’s Eliza Donoghue shared:

The Gulf of Maine is one of the fastest-warming bodies in any ocean ecosystem, and we must take immediate action to protect our environment.

Jason J. Shedlcok of the Laborers’ International Union and President of the Maine State Building & Construction Trades Council said:

The Committee sent a strong and unequivocal message that Maine refuses to build this industry on the backs of exploited labor, nor will they chase workers from their job sites as it relates to our sisters and brothers on the water.

Maine Lobstering Union Local 207 Executive Liaison and Political Director said

The Committee’s action underscores what those of us who work on the water have been saying all along: if offshore wind comes to Maine, we must set high standards and do all we can to protect our fisheries and our communities.

Maine has positioned itself as a national leader on climate with a comprehensive statewide Climate Action Plan, bipartisan emissions reduction targets, and strong clean energy policies that have driven record growth in heat pump and solar adoption.

A proposed goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040 would continue this progress.

As amended, the legislation sets a goal and procurement schedule for 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy installed by 2040, which can be reevaluated and increased periodically by The Governor’s Energy Office.

Additionally, the bill includes a provision negotiated with lobstering groups to avoid conflicts within Lobster Management Area 1, a key fishing ground.

The bill faces further votes in the House and the Senate. 

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