Dec 9, 2011

Norwegian Wind: federal/state task force discusses Statoil plan for floating windfarm 12+ miles off Boothbay Hbr.

Media Coverage of the December 8, 2011,  Bureau of Ocean Management meeting on the Norwegian proposal to emplace a windfarm in waters 12 miles off Midcoast Maine. 

While most of the coverage was supportive, a precautionary note was struck by the Bay Watch, as the stories  extracted from Google News show.  In addition, the  absence of any officials or even representatives of energy giant Statoil at this meeting on their proposal was felt to be an insult to the assembled officials of the towns and fishing industries that would be affected by their plan present..

WCSH-TV, Channel 6. Portland."While environmental groups believe harnessing the ocean's winds for power could provide a tremendous source of renewable energy, some are concerned about the potential impacts on a variety of sea creatures:

"We have a lot of concerns that they have not looked into all the ecological implications of what transpires when you set up ocean windmills," stated Ron Huber, executive director of Penobscot Bay Watch.  He hopes more research is done before major investments are made into off-shore wind power projects.
Norwegian Company Pitches Floating Wind Farm off Maine Coast   MPBN News: "Environmental activist Ron Huber heads a group called Penobscot Bay Watch.  " Earlier this year Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said they would make every effort to make sure that these proposals were not in areas that were fisheries sensitive."
"And the area they're looking at is an extremely important fishery zone for both scallop fisheries, ground fisheries and lobster fisheries,"  Huber says.  "So we think they're not really going quite in good faith with that." End of excerpt
Nevertheless the meeting shouldered on. The State representative representing Boothbay Harbor - where the extracted power would come ashore - had many questions, including from his own fishermen who are concerned that a prime area for atlantic bluefin tuna would be in the midst of this.  But strangely absent from media coverage of the meeting was the fact that not a single representative of the Norwegian company or its government was present to offer any details on the project.  
The BOEM officials produced a bland  four page document from Statoil. It was quite free of any details ,then  a string of functionaries from American agencies  used powerpoints and posters to explain their bits of the puzzle. 
But without the Norwegian company's officials present, the meeting was strangely unfulfilling, like 
Stay tuned, audio recordings of the meeting will be uploaded on the Bay Blog shortly.

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