Mack Point terminal poised for role in offshore wind production

Mar 13, 2020
Courtesy of: Governor's Office Searsport Selectmen Doug Norman, Sandra Otis-Anderson and Mark Bradstreet, from left, with Gov. Janet Mills, Selectmen Steve Tanguay and Linda Payson, and Town Manager James Gillway during their tour of Mack Point Terminal March 11.

Searsport — Gov. Janet Mills announced March 11, while touring Mack Point Terminal, that her office would examine the port’s potential to support offshore wind.

With the port's deepwater harbor, existing rail infrastructure and the ability to store or assemble turbines on site, Mack Point makes logistical sense as a supply chain hub.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the announcement follows her visit to Scotland last week as a member of a U.S. state and federal delegation to learn more about offshore wind. It also follows her State of the State address, in which she spoke of unleashing Maine’s offshore wind potential.

“Offshore wind is poised to become a $1 trillion industry by 2040, creating thousands of good-paying jobs, providing clean, renewable energy, and spurring economic growth," Mills said. "With our existing port infrastructure and proximity to both European and East Coast markets, Maine is well-positioned to become a leader in the offshore wind industry just as Scotland has.

“Searsport has been critical for the delivery and deployment of onshore wind in New England for years. My administration will evaluate how the port can do the same for offshore wind.”

In addition, Aqua Ventus, slated to be the first floating offshore wind project in the country, is planning to use the port to assemble the hull that will be towed out to the demonstration test site off Monhegan Island.

The University of Maine has estimated that Aqua Ventus will produce $152 million in total economic output, and more than 553 Maine-based jobs during the construction period, including jobs in design and construction. Operations and maintenance of the facility will create an additional economic output of approximately $16 million over 20 years.

An active seaport since the 1700s, Searsport is Maine’s second-largest port and is home to an intermodal facility serving coastal and inland areas of the state. Mack Point terminal is currently able to handle a diverse array of products, including bulk shipments as well as containerized cargo. The terminal has space for bulk piling, warehousing and liquid tank storage, as well as a potential for further development on existing property.

Sprague Operating Resources LLC operates Mack Point and owns the liquid bulk pier, while the Maine Port Authority owns the dry bulk pier, also operated by Sprague. The Port Authority and Maine Department of Transportation recently invested in new heavy handling equipment at the port, and over the last two years, DOT has made investments in upgrading the connecting rail infrastructure at the port.

State Rep. Scott Cuddy, D-Winterport, who also toured the Mack Point facility March 11, said, “The oncoming development of offshore wind is an exciting time for Maine and an exciting time for Searsport. Maine is poised to be an industry leader, and Searsport is perfectly situated to help make it happen!”

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