BOEM Seeks Public Input on Gulf of Maine Offshore Wind Research Lease
The United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has unveiled plans to review potential environmental impacts associated with the possible issuance of an offshore wind energy research lease in the Gulf of Maine.
The lease was requested by the State of Maine for the purpose of researching potential floating offshore wind development.
The research site lies 20 nautical miles off the coast of Maine, roughly southeast of Portland, and if developed could comprise up to twelve floating offshore wind turbines capable of generating up to 144 MW of renewable energy.
BOEM plans to publish a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register to state its intent to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the wind energy research lease, which will initiate a 30-day public comment period that will end on 5 June.
During this period, BOEM seeks public input regarding important environmental issues and the identification of reasonable alternatives that should be considered in the EA, BOEM said.
“The Tribes, states, ocean users and stakeholders in the Gulf of Maine have valuable expertise on the issues facing this region, and we look forward to collaborating and working with everyone as we move forward”, said Elizabeth Klein, BOEM Director.
BOEM issued a Request for Interest (RFI) for the Gulf of Maine in the Federal Register in August 2022 and, by October 2022, received nominations of areas of interest from Avangrid Renewables, TotalEnergies, Hexicon, Mainstream Renewable Power, and Pine Tree Offshore Wind (a consortium comprising the State of Maine, the University of Maine, and a joint venture between Diamond Offshore Wind and RWE Renewables).
Based on the feedback received during the public comment period and industry nominations through the RFI, as well as spatial analysis performed in partnership with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Center for Coastal and Ocean Science (NCCOS), BOEM reduced the original RFI area and published the Draft Call Area in January 2023.
In January, BOEM announced the Determination for No Competitive Interest (DNCI) for the State of Maine’s research application and moved forward with the State of Maine’s research application.
A few months later, BOEM took the first step towards Gulf of Maine offshore wind leasing by publishing the Call for Information and Nominations to assess interest in possible commercial offshore wind development in areas offshore Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, and to gather public comment.
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