Jan 9, 2010

Monhegan & the Ivory windTower

Will it be Town vs Gown, there in the chilly waters off Monhegan?

Depending on who you listen to or read, there are many answers to that question.

What's known is:

  * November 7, 2008  Governor Baldacci signed Executive Order 20 FY 08/09, establishing  the Ocean Energy Task Force

* The State Planning Office's Special Projects Offic
implemented. the order and set up the Task Force meetings. 

* The Task Force delivered an 87 page Final Report (pdf)  on strategies to: meet  the goals established in the Maine Wind Energy Act, Title 35-A, section 3404(2)(B) :  install at least 2,000 megawatts of wind capacity by 2015 and at least 3,000 megawatts by 2020, 300 of which could be located in coastal waters.  

* LD  1465 An Act To Facilitate Testing and Demonstration of Renewable Ocean Energy Technology is passed by the Maine Legislature and signed byGovernor Baldacci. It becomes 38 MRSA 480HH  in state law.

* Summer 2009  the U.S. Department of Energy awarded an $8 million grant to  Dr. Habib Dagher and his team at the University of Maine. The team includes more than 30 partners from outside of academia, including private companies interested in offshore wind development. Dagher testifies before Congress  that Maine has the potential to produce about 130 gigawatts of power in deep water — 60 to 900 meters deep — within 50 nautical miles of the coast.

* December 15, 2009 Maine State Planning office designates a 2 and 1/3 square mile area south of Monhegan as the  Maine Offshore Wind Energy Research Center

* University  proposes to install one 100-kilowatt floating wind turbine and one 10-kilowatt floating wind  turbine.  A maximum of two offshore wind turbines is allowed at any given time in the wind energy test area.

* Media Coverage Suzanne Pude, the Island Institute's Wind energy point person  wrote an article recently, detailing the above.  As did Alice McFadden, publisher of the Free Press in "Monhegan Site Chosen as UMaine's Offshore Wind Research Facility"


The Monhegan wind test area lies in deep water tucked between two  important fishing grounds: the  Monhegan Inner Sou'Sou'west Ground and the Monhegan Western Ground. As described in "Fishing Grounds of the Gulf of Maine"   See clickable map here. Monhegan is lowest green spot on map

Monhegan Inner Sou'Sou'west Ground. "This ground takes its name from its bearing, lying SSW from Monhegan Light, distant 5 miles. Its width is 1 1/2 miles, its length NNE and SSW is 1 1/4 miles. It has a sharp, broken, rocky bottom, including a small shoal of 20 fathoms and some hummocks of rather greater depths. The deepest water is in the neighborhood of 50 fathoms. Fishing here is from May until July for codfish and pollock: hake and cusk are in the deep water in the spring months and halibut on the shoal in July and September. This ground is principally fished by trawls, but there is considerable hand lining in September and October. Gillnetting, too, has become more common of later years"

Monhegan Western Ground." This is a somewhat extensive ground lying about 4 1/2 miles WSW from Monhegan Island. The depths range from 22 to 45 fathoms. The bottom is rocky and gravelly and in places much broken. This is a good spring ground for cod and a summer ground for hake and cusk in 40 to 50 fathoms. Pollock are found here in September and October. Its length is 4 or 5 miles, and its greatest breadth is 2 miles on the eastern portion, gradually narrowing westward to about 1 mile. The ground runs SE, and NW. It is fished by hand lines, trawls, and gill nets. Marks: Bring houses on New Harbor over the white cliff on Pemaquid 6 miles from New Harbor."

Coming Up Next Time: What problems could these windmills bring off the mouth of Penobscot Bay?

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