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BOEM designates vast offshore wind area in Gulf of Maine

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the completion of its designation of a Wind Energy Area (WEA) in the Gulf of Maine. The finalized WEA possesses the capability to facilitate the production of 32 GW of clean energy, surpassing existing state objectives for offshore wind energy in the Gulf of Maine, which include 10 GW for Massachusetts and 3 GW for Maine.

The WEA also spans approximately 2 million acres offshore Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, extending from about 23 to 92 miles off the coast.

Following extensive engagement with the states of Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, Tribal Nations, local residents, ocean users including the fishing community, federal government partners, and other stakeholders, BOEM finalized the WEA. Taking into account feedback regarding natural and cultural resources as well as current ocean uses, the WEA reflects an 80% reduction from the initially identified leasing area and a 43% reduction from the Draft WEA.

The resulting WEA strategically avoids critical zones for lobster fishing, North Atlantic right whale habitat, and other significant fishing areas and habitats. Furthermore, in response to initial discussions with Tribal Nations in Maine, the WEA aims to steer clear of a majority of their historical and current fishing grounds.

"BOEM is committed to maintaining strong collaboration with the states of Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire as we advance our efforts in the Gulf of Maine," said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. "We remain dedicated to engaging with Tribal governments, federal and state agencies, ocean stakeholders, coastal communities, and all interested parties as we progress through our environmental review."

Following the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) release of its final designation of WEAs for the Gulf of Maine, Anne Reynolds, Vice President for Offshore Wind at the American Clean Power Association (ACP), said: "Led by the efforts of Maine Governor Janet Mills, the Northeast is ready to support the innovation, jobs, and economic boost the offshore wind industry will deliver to the region."

Reynolds added that "this stakeholder process has served as a shining example of how to work with local communities and stakeholders to allow for the OSW development necessary for environmental and economic goals, while preserving existing areas for use by other critical industries. We look forward to working with BOEM as they move to the next step of a lease sale in 2024, and with all stakeholders to ensure Mainers enjoy the full benefits of the Gulf of Maine’s natural resources and a clean energy future."


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