Document Type



Offshore wind will provide a key piece of the United States’ clean energy future. Several East Coast states are planning for thousands of megawatts of wind energy generation off their coasts. But the nascent offshore wind industry faces many challenges. Some are social, such as from the fishing industry and coastal property owners who do not want their views obstructed. Other challenges are more technical, including how so much energy will interconnect to the onshore electrical grid. The state of Maine is currently grappling with all these issues as it seeks to develop the Gulf of Maine’s world-class wind energy resource. This paper provides a legal analysis of Maine’s wind regulatory regime. It focuses on state law that governs the interconnection of offshore wind and argues that while state protections from local interference with offshore wind projects is relatively strong, state law should be amended to clarify that those protections also cover wind energy projects in federal waters. Furthermore, because there is a particular need for regulatory uniformity when it comes to siting offshore wind infrastructure, this paper argues that a federal agency should have jurisdiction over these siting decisions.

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