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March 27, 2015

Maine businesses see opportunity on the North Atlantic

Photo / Courtesy of Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative
Photo / Courtesy of Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative
Paul Williamson, director of the Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative, is joined (at right) by Adam Jones of Howell Laboratories at the exhibition booth touting Maine businesses at the Arctic Technology Conference in Copenhagen this week.

A Maine business delegation attended the Arctic Technology Conference in Copenhagen this week, with a mission of touting the state's capabilities to the energy industry's leading engineering and scientific organizations that also were at the event.

In an email sent to Mainebiz from the conference, Paul Williamson, director of the Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative, a Portland-based coalition of companies within Maine's ocean and wind energy supply chain, said he was joined at the conference by two Maine companies at an exhibition booth representing their capabilities and those of 12 additional companies interested in expanding their presence in the ocean technology and energy markets.

"There has been an increase of investment in resource development in Eastern Canada, Greenland and Iceland," Williamson said in his email. "The proximity of Maine to this region is now enhanced by the Eimskip shipping line operating from Portland providing shipping services through Eastern Canada, Iceland and on to Northern Europe. The opportunities in the North Atlantic include growth in ocean energy, mining, infrastructure development, hydroelectricity, sub-sea cabling and arctic environmental studies."

Williamson said the Maine exhibition was supported by a visit to Denmark earlier this month by Dana Eidsness, director of the Maine North Atlantic Development Office. In addition to conducting meetings in Copenhagen in support of Maine's presence at the conference, Williamson said Eidsness also traveled to Aalborg in the north of Denmark, where she represented the recently established New England Ocean Cluster House at a North Atlantic Ocean Cluster Alliance meeting and presented regarding green marine technology development in Maine at the Marine Business Opportunities Conference in Aalborg. MENADO operates out of the Maine International Trade Center.

The organizations are partnering with the Maine Port Authority to explore business opportunities for Maine companies in the North Atlantic. Funding from the Maine Technology Institute is being utilized by the partnership to identify opportunities appropriate for Maine companies, and support early prospect exploration. The effort includes marketing Maine as the gateway between the United States and the North Atlantic, with industry resources available to serve the north Atlantic markets.

Maine companies have already provided products and services to the region, Williamson said, including: Modular fabrication for hydropower, environmental analysis, vessel material and equipment outfitting, specialty buoyancy, and ocean structural engineering modeling.

"The high-quality products and services offered by Maine companies in engineering, energy and ocean technologies are an ideal fit for the expanding activities in the North Atlantic," Williamson said in his email. "This week we had valuable meetings with government and industry officials of Denmark, Newfoundland and Greenland. There is a very welcoming tenor within the discussions for Maine companies to increase their role in North Atlantic/Arctic Rim activities."

MOWII and MENADO will be working together over the coming months to build Maine's presence in additional regional industry events, he added.

The exhibit in Copenhagen represented interests from RBC Engineering, Howell Laboratories, Harbor Technologies, Pole Star Maritime, Deepwater Buoyancy, Kenway Corp., Strategic Maintenance Solutions, Pika Energy, The Maine Composites Alliance, Maine Marine Composites, Montalvo, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, HRA Gray & Pape, HDR, Eimskip and Stantec.

MOWII is currently working to identify additional companies that would like to be part of the joint effort to expand Maine's business activities in the North Atlantic, Williamson said.

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