Lawmakers advance bill boosting offshore wind development
A legislative committee on Wednesday approved a bill to boost offshore wind power.
The measure sets a goal for the Public Utilities Commission to contract for 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy installed by 2040.
It has the support of a coalition of environmental groups. Eliza Donoghue, of Maine Audubon, says the threats posed by climate change are far greater than those posed by wind power. And she says the bill includes environmental safeguards.
"And those provisions include the requirement that there be plans for how these projects are going to avoid and minimize and mitigate impacts to wildlife, to fisheries, and to the marine environment," Donoghue says. "It also requires significant mitigation payments."
The bill also includes labor guarantees and incentives for wind developers to avoid the area used by most of Maine's lobster fleet that fishes in federal waters. And it includes language to ensure that tribal representatives are involved in the process.
The bill faces more votes in the House of Representatives and Senate.