Opportunities in the Wind Industry
in 2008 the Maine Composites Alliance in collaboration with the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center, First Wind, CIANBRO and the Maine Port Authority began an initiative to develop Maine industry's competitiveness and opportunities in the growing wind industry in the North East United States.
The focus of this initiative is on both on-shore and off-shore wind development. MWII will be an industry lead and driven collaborative effort involving the following organized industry clusters:
- Maine Composites Industry (MCA)
- Heavy Constructors (AGC)
- Precision manufacturing and machining (MAMe)
- Research and Development (Advanced Structures and Composites Center)
- Government (Maine Port Authority/Governors Office)
- Major wind site developers including First Wind and Trans Canada
- Engineering and environment consulting firms operating in this market.
The purpose of the initiative is to organize the interests currently involved in the wind energy industry to identify common needs, pursue market opportunities on behalf of Maine industry, document the industry's needs and assist the State in leveraging the considerable natural resources of the state to the benefit of the State. The initiative intends to participate in the leadership of the development of these resources to the benefit of the Maine economy.
Maine has the greatest potential for wind energy development of all the North Eastern States. Currently has the greatest installed base of on-shore utility generation capacity on the eastern sea board. The potential off shore resources offer substantial growth. Maine has the opportunity to become a major energy supplier to the northeast corridor.
The basic components and skill sets necessary to support almost every aspect of the wind industry exist in Maine. Technology development in the United States has lagged considerably behind Europe. On the other hand, there is an opportunity to combine Maine's appropriate high skill sets with technological innovation and applied research to jump into this market. This must be done by identifying Maine's competitive advantages and applying to carefully selected market entry points. Key to this effort will be leveraging Maine's considerable resources in wind and ocean energy to gain access to the opportunities. In addition, development of a large scale wind turbine blade prototyping and testing facility at the University of Maine will give an additional completive advantage to developing an entry point for indigenous Maine industry into this market. Finally, the early development of the first off-shore wind test facility off the coast of Maine could be a material advantage in the development of off-shore wind technology.
MWII will provide the following key functions:
- Develop a strategic plan for Maine industry to competitively enter the alternative energy market.
- Identify existing Maine assets and capacity to compete in this market
- Identify market opportunities for Maine companies in the wind industry sector both existing opportunities and new.
- Identify and provide specialized training and technological development to allow competitive entry in this market, including focusing applied research and development to Maine industry market opportunities.
- Facilitate the develop collaborations and consortiums to pursue opportunities beyond the capability or capacity of individual companies.
- Communicate the needs and capabilities of the industry to potential markets, applied research and development needs and needs to state and federal government.
MWII will be structured as an industry, government and academic partnership. Key industry associations such as MCA, MAM and AGC will take leadership roles on behalf of their industries. Each sector, including industry sectors, will have a seat as a founding member with MCA serving as the managing organization and Maine Port Authority as the convening organization.