BOEM Gulf of Maine

US Moves Closer to Gulf of Maine (Floating) Offshore Wind Lease Sale

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has identified a draft Wind Energy Area (WEA) offshore the Gulf of Maine holding an estimated 40 GW of capacity which will be put up for a lease sale in 2024.

The Draft WEA covers approximately 3,519,067 acres offshore Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, ranging from approximately 23 – 120 miles off the coast.

According to BOEM, due to deep waters within the Gulf of Maine, these areas are also an opportunity to accelerate the US leadership in floating technologies.

Source: The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

The draft WEA announced on 19 October has a capacity of over 40 GW, which exceeds the current combined offshore wind energy planning goals for the Gulf of Maine states: 10 GW for Massachusetts and 3 GW for Maine.

To identify the draft WEA, BOEM worked collaboratively with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to develop an ocean planning model that identifies and minimises conflicts with coastal and marine resources and ocean users.

BOEM also met with and incorporated feedback from Tribes, fishers, and the public to refine the model and inform the potential offshore locations that appear most suitable for floating offshore wind energy development.  

The Draft WEA avoids Lobster Management Area 1 and all North Atlantic Right Whale Restricted Areas. In addition, it also avoids other important fishing areas and habitats, including important groundfish areas east of the Western Gulf of Maine Closure and within the 10-kilometer buffer from Georges Bank, Platts Bank, Parker Ridge, and Three Dory Ridge, according to BOEM.

The 30-day public comment period already commenced yesterday during which BOEM will hold a series of public meetings to outline data and information used to inform the draft WEA and to discuss the next steps.

BOEM also seeks comments on whether to add all or parts of three secondary areas that were identified for additional analysis but not part of the draft WEA. 

In July, the Maine Legislature passed a bill that would call for the state to procure 3 GW of offshore wind by 2040, enough to power 900,000 homes and supply half of the state’s total electricity demand.

In April, BOEM published the Gulf of Maine 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.


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.

Following this, the agency hosted a series of information exchanges on the Draft Call Area from January-February 2023 to get feedback from Tribes, states, existing ocean users, and the general public. The Final Call Area, published on 25 April, showed the reduced RFI area that covered 9.8 million acres, a nearly 30 per cent reduction.


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