ISLESBORO — The Select Board recently released a statement applauding the state’s response to climate change with renewable offshore wind and adding that the municipality would like to see the port infrastructure developed at Mack Point rather than Sears Island.

In a conversation with The Republican Journal Jan. 27, Islesboro Select Board Chair Gabe Pendleton said this is a perfect opportunity to repurpose an old industrial site, “especially since it is a technology we are moving away from,” and replace it with clean renewable energy.

Determining the best Maine OSW port location must be a careful process, weighing a wide range of social, cultural and environmental factors, the release notes. The board adds that Mack Point can and should be the preferred Penobscot Bay location for any OSW port and infrastructure development on this part of the Maine coast.

Floating offshore wind turbines. Source: Maine DOT

While the Maine Department of Transportation feasibility study identifies both Sears Island and Mack Point as appropriate locations that “can achieve or surpass the minimum required criteria,” Pendleton said Mack Point is a better location. “Exchanging outdated oil import infrastructure with clean wind turbine deployment at Mack Point just makes sense,” he said in the statement.

Proposed offshore wind port facility at Mack Point Terminal and Sears Island. Source: Maine DOT

To prepare the Mack Point site for an OSW port would mean removing several tanks from the facility, “and leaving the pristine island intact,” he said. It is better for the community and better for the planet, he said.

Islesboro Islands Trust Executive Director Stephen Miller said in the statement that with the relatively intact ecosystem on Sears Island supporting a plethora of marine and terrestrial plants and animals, it is not a place for developing an offshore wind port.

“We feel strongly that developing an offshore wind port on the former industrial site at Mack Point makes so much sense,” he said, “rather than destroying a natural island.”

In response to the Islesboro statement, Paul Merrill, director of communications at DOT, told TRJ, “We understand there are a variety of opinions about the future of clean energy in the Port of Searsport. That’s why we are committed to conducting a robust public process to engage with key stakeholders and community organizations.”