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Response to Petition to Ban Subsea Cables in Port Clyde

We look forward to continued dialogue with residents and fishermen of St. George as to what the facts of the proposed MAV demonstration project are. Information being distributed through the recent petition effort does not accurately reflect project plans.

The 12 MW test project will not harm fishing grounds. Significant scientific data to the contrary exists from Europe where the first offshore wind farm was built back in 1991, and today Europe has over 12,600 MW of offshore wind installed, and more are being added.

Banning all electrical cables to shore would also be a precedent that could negatively impact people living on islands and others as well. Maine has for decades installed similar offshore electric cables to and from islands, and these cables have never been found to destroy fisheries.

The offshore cable for the test project is proposed in an existing charted cable right of way, where existing active cables serve the islands off Port Clyde. Locating in existing cable way ​minimizes impact on local fishermen. 

If a project is to come into the Port Clyde area, it will be done to the highest standards of engineering and meeting all electrical  and building codes​. For example, our team has proposed burying the cable as needed and using existing transmission infrastructure to minimize visual impact.

The 2 miles x 1 mile project site is perhaps the most studied piece of real estate in the Gulf of Maine. The Test Site was selected following an extensive review process led by the State Planning Office ​in 2008 ​with input from multiple state and federal resource agencies, as well as public  and fishing industry​ input. There have been and will continue to be fish and wildlife monitoring efforts to establish a baseline for what is using the site now, and what impacts there might be in the future from development of the demonstration project. Those monitoring efforts are reviewed by the relevant agencies, and results reviewed by them as well.

 This project is an important step in moving away from energy sources that are warming and acidifying the Gulf of Maine, with effects such as closure of Maine shrimping season and movements northward by lobsters and other temperature-sensitive fish.

Offshore wind is Maine’s largest untapped renewable resource with 156GW of offshore wind capacity within 50 miles of the shore, while it only takes 2.4 GW to power the whole state of Maine. Our ultimate goal is to keep Maine’s energy dollars in Maine, stabilize energy costs, create local jobs, and work with the fishing industry on a win-win approach.

There is an international competition to develop floating turbine technologies and Maine is leading the US in this important new energy resource. Floating turbines can be placed 20 or more miles offshore so nobody can see them or hear them, but nothing will be done until the results of this 2-turbine test are understood. The fishing industry will be a partner in the test program, and all data will be shared in a transparent manner.