AUGUSTA — State officials have identified their ideal location for what would be the first offshore wind research area in the country.
The site released by Governor Janet Mills’ energy office as its preferred spot is in federal waters, roughly 35 miles south of Bristol. The state is pursuing a floating offshore wind turbine research array at the site, with up to 12 wind turbines spread over 16 square miles.
The state previously said that it wanted the area to be between 20 and 40 miles offshore, with the possibility of connecting to land in Yarmouth or Wiscasset.
The array is intended to help the state understand offshore wind development’s potential opportunities and effects on the Gulf of Maine.
The idea has generated displeasure among fishermen up and down the coast. Earlier this summer, the state enacted a ban on offshore wind in state waters and created a research consortium to look at potential studies on the renewable energy source.
“Throughout this effort, (the Governor’s energy office) has worked to balance a multitude of factors when siting the research array, with particular consideration of long-standing industries such as fishing,” the office wrote in a recent document. “The initial siting criteria took steps to avoid nearshore waters, which are critical for fishing and recreating.”
The office says it welcomes feedback on the preferred site until the end of the month. After that, it plans to finalize the lease site and file an application with the federal government, which has jurisdiction in those waters.