Eco-Friendly Off-Shore Wind for Mack Point Terminal Under Consideration

mack point offshore wind terminal rendering 2

This lower-impact plan harnesses existing infrastructure, sequesters tons of carbon per year, and protects 100 acres of undisturbed natural habitat on and off Sears Island. This image shows the reimagined waterfront in the new plan. (Credit: Sprague Energy)

by | Jun 7, 2024

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Sprague Operating Resources LLC, a leading supplier of energy products and material handling services in the Northeast, has unveiled a detailed plan to support Maine’s offshore wind initiative. The proposed plan leverages the Mack Point terminal in Searsport, offering several advantages over the original designs proposed by the state’s engineering contractor, Moffat & Nichol.

Plan Advantages

Developed in collaboration with a marine engineering firm during the summer of 2023, the new plan harnesses existing infrastructure to sequester significant amounts of carbon annually. It protects 100 acres of undisturbed natural habitat on and off Sears Island. This strategic use of the existing terminal infrastructure aims to reduce environmental impact while maintaining operational efficiency.

Operational and Environmental Benefits

The Mack Point terminal, operational since 1905, presents a reimagined waterfront layout that preserves existing operations while minimizing dredging and wetland impact. James Therriault, Vice President of Materials Handling at Sprague, highlighted the terminal’s long-standing experience in wind component handling, noting that the alternative design supports Maine’s offshore wind energy goals with minimal disruption to the natural and working lands.

Detailed Plan Components

Sprague’s proposal outlines several vital components and benefits, including:

  • 100 Acres of Protected Habitat: The plan ensures the preservation of natural habitats with a dedicated entrance, separated from ongoing activities.
  • Dedicated Vessel Component Receipt Dock: Already dredged to 35 feet of Mean Low Water (MLW), facilitating efficient docking.
  • Base Launching Dock and Assembly Area: Designed for semi-submersible barges and Tug Dock devices, providing ample space for wind energy component assembly without interfering with other terminal operations.
  • Increased Docking Space: The design offers 1,600 feet dedicated to large vessels and foundations, with an additional 1,000 feet for small workboats and tugs.
  • Support Services Area and Rail Yard: A designated area for employee parking, warehousing, and administrative functions, along with a recently renovated rail yard to handle domestically sourced components.

Economic and Environmental Impact

Sprague’s plan promises reduced construction time and costs compared to the original proposals. Mack Point’s already industrial nature minimizes the risk of permitting delays. By contrast, developing a wind port on Sears Island would result in significant ecological disruption, including clearing 75 acres of upland forest and filling 25 acres of Penobscot Bay.

Rolf E. Olsen, Vice President of Friends of Sears Island, supports the redevelopment of Mack Point as a more sustainable and less disruptive alternative. He emphasizes Sears Island’s ecological, recreational, and economic value and advocates for its preservation in its natural state.

Call to Action

The Maine Department of Transportation has issued a request for public input on the state’s commercial offshore wind solicitation approach. By proposing an innovative and environmentally considerate alternative, Sprague Operating Resources LLC aims to support Maine’s offshore wind initiative while protecting the region’s natural resources and leveraging existing infrastructure.

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