First US Floating Wind Project Progressing Through Federal Permitting System

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed a draft environmental assessment (EA) of the potential issuance of a research lease to the State of Maine that would grant the State the exclusive right to submit plans for a twelve-turbine, 144 MW floating wind farm for BOEM’s approval.

State of Maine requested research lease area in the Gulf of Maine; Image: BOEM

The federal agency is set to publish the draft EA on 21 July and open a 30-day public comment period, during which BOEM will gather feedback from the stakeholders and public. After reviewing public comments submitted during the comment period, BOEM will publish a final EA that will inform the decision on whether to issue the research lease.   

The State of Maine submitted an application for the research lease for a site located more than 20 nautical miles off the Maine coast in October 2021.


In August last year, BOEM issued a Request for Competitive Interest (RFCI) and a Request for Interest (RFI) for the Gulf of Maine. The RFI was published for the commercial nomination of areas and the RCFI for the site where the State of Maine requested the lease, as per regulations that require BOEM to identify whether or not there is competitive commercial interest in any area that is the subject of an unsolicited lease request.

In January, BOEM issued a Determination of No Competitive Interest for the research lease and then moved forward to process the state’s application, announcing its intention to prepare the environmental assessment (EA) for the wind energy research lease in May.

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According to information shared earlier by the Maine Governor’s Energy Office (GEO), which filed the application with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the floating wind research project will comprise twelve wind turbines on floating foundations designed at the University of Maine.

“This project will advance UMaine’s patented technology and will foster leading research into how floating offshore wind interacts with Maine’s marine environment, fishing industry, shipping and navigation routes, and more”, Governor’s Office said in 2021.


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