Maine Selects Sears Island as Preferred Site for Floating Wind Port Facility

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The government of Maine has selected a section of state-owned area on Sears Island as its preferred site for a port facility development that will support the floating offshore wind industry.

The selection of the site, announced by the Governor of Maine Janet Mills, follows an extensive public stakeholder process led by the Maine Department of Transportation and Maine Port Authority to consider the state’s primary port development options, including multiple potential sites in the Port of Searsport, the Port of Eastport, and the Port of Portland.

The state concluded that the Sears Island parcel is the most feasible port development site in terms of location, logistics, cost, and environmental impact based on input from port and offshore wind stakeholders, including the University of Maine, and on technical and engineering analyses.

The proposed port would be a purpose-built facility for floating offshore wind fabrication, staging, assembly, maintenance, and deployment.

With deepwater access to the port development site, Maine has the potential to establish a premier location for the industry and help meet growing demand in the U.S. for offshore wind port infrastructure.

Sears Island is a 941-acre island off the coast of Searsport. In 2009, Sears Island was, by agreement, divided into two parcels - approximately 601 acres, or two-thirds of the island, was placed in a permanent conservation easement held by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, while the remaining one-third, or approximately 330 acres, was reserved by MaineDOT for future development.

The site selected by the state on February 20, 2024 is expected to be about 100 acres in totality, which is about one-third of the state-owned parcel or a little more than one-tenth of the entire island.

The Maine Offshore Wind Roadmap, released one year ago, determined a port facility is a priority for unlocking Maine’s opportunity in offshore wind to create good-paying jobs, spurring broad economic development, and generating abundant clean electricity to stabilize energy costs and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

“This was not an easy decision, nor is it one that I made lightly. For more than two years, my Administration has evaluated Sears Island and Mack Point thoroughly and with an open mind, recognizing that each site has its own set of benefits and its own set of drawbacks.

“In carefully considering all of these, I believe that, on balance, Sears Island is the best choice for an offshore wind port because it is already owned by the state, designated for the purpose of port development, will cost less in the short-term and long-term, and is expected to result in less environmental harm,” said Janet Mills.

Categories: Ports Renewable Energy Industry News Activity North America Infrastructure Offshore Wind

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