By Executive Order, Maine Governor John Baldacci established the Ocean Energy Task Force. The Task Force, a 21-member panel, has been charged with studying strategies for ocean-based wind, tidal and wave energy development. That group has also been directed to update the state's information on offshore oil and gas resources and technology. Interim findings (PDF 79 KB) Download Adobe Reader were due to the Governor by April 1, 2009, and the final report is due on October 31, 2009. Governor Baldacci has stated that the newly established task force will augment the actions he's taken to pursue a long-term energy policy for the state of Maine.
The interim report states that the Task Force has developed a work plan with subcommittees and has met regularly since it was created in November 2008. The Taskforce has recommended that legislation be drafted to create state General Permits to facilitate ocean energy research and demonstration projects. Such legislation is recommended to include the following provisions:
- A streamlined 60-day Department of Environmental Protection permitting process for offshore wind energy demonstration projects that are located in up to five specific areas in Maine's coastal waters, to be identified based on consideration of potential impacts on natural resources and existing uses, community support, and other factors;
- The Department of Conservation and State Planning Office, in consultation with the Departments of Marine Resources and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and other state agencies directed to implement a public outreach process to inform identification of these offshore areas, one of which, termed the Maine Offshore Wind Energy Research Center, would be for wind energy demonstration projects conducted by or in cooperation with wind energy technology researchers at the University of Maine;
- A streamlined Department of Environmental Protection general permit for tidal power projects eligible for a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission pilot project; and
- A streamlined permitting process on state submerged lands for a wind power or tidal power demonstration project that receives a general permit as provided under the bill.
For more information on the Taskforce please refer to the March 25, 2009 Environmental Business Council Presentation on Offshore Wind by Donald Perkins, co-chair of the Taskforce (PDF 2.8 MB) Download Adobe Reader.
This information was last updated on 6/25/2009