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Wind turbines off of Block Island

Wind turbines at Orsted's Block Island wind farm off Rhode Island, one of two commercial offshore wind farms in the United States. Credit: PennyJack Creative/Shutterstock

Maine to Research Floating Offshore Wind Turbines in Gulf

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1004
May 28, 2024

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has made available its Final Environmental Assessment (Final EA) for a research lease in the Gulf of Maine. The lease was requested by the state of Maine in October 2021 for researching floating offshore wind energy technology.

The research site, located approximately 28 nautical miles off the coast of Maine, near Portland, could host up to 12 floating offshore wind turbines. This could generate up to 144 megawatts of renewable energy.

The Biden Administration has set a target of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030, as well as 15 GW specifically of floating offshore wind by 2035.

“Floating wind technology can make offshore wind a reality in the Gulf of Maine,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “BOEM will continue to work in partnership with the state of Maine as we move forward to facilitate the responsible development of offshore wind in this region, as well as the deployment of floating offshore wind technology nationwide.”

The “Notice of Availability of a Final Environmental Assessment for a Wind Energy Research Lease on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Maine” will be published by BOEM on May 29, 2024. After evaluation of the Final EA and public feedback, BOEM concluded that the issuance of a wind energy research lease in the proposed area would have no significant environmental impact. Therefore, no Environmental Impact Statement is needed.

The Final EA was completed, and a research lease was offered to the State of Maine by BOEM on May 24, 2024. The state has 30 days to accept, reject, or request modifications to the lease.

The move aligns with the Biden administration’s efforts to promote offshore wind energy. The Department of the Interior has already approved eight commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects since the administration’s inception. BOEM has conducted four offshore wind lease auctions, including the first-ever sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts. The agency is also seeking further opportunities for offshore wind energy development in various regions, including the Gulf of Maine and the U.S. Central Atlantic coast.

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