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Gulf of Maine offshore wind research lease advances with environmental clearance

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has released its Final Environmental Assessment (Final EA) for an offshore wind research lease in the Gulf of Maine.

BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein expressed that floating wind technology has the potential to introduce offshore wind energy to the Gulf of Maine. She emphasized BOEM's dedication to working with the state of Maine to ensure the responsible development of offshore wind in the region and nationwide.

In October 2021, Maine requested a research lease to explore floating offshore wind energy technology. The designated research area is located 28 nautical miles off the coast of Maine, southeast of Portland, and aims to support up to 12 floating wind turbines with a potential capacity of 144 megawatts of renewable energy.

BOEM has now published the "Notice of Availability of a Final Environmental Assessment for a Wind Energy Research Lease on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Maine" in the Federal Register. Following a thorough review of alternatives and public feedback on the Draft EA, BOEM has determined that the proposed wind energy research lease and associated activities will not significantly impact the environment. Consequently, under the National Environmental Policy Act, an Environmental Impact Statement is not required for the issuance of the research lease.

Source: BOEM

After finalizing the EA and determining no significant environmental impacts, BOEM extended the research lease offer to the State of Maine on May 24, 2024. Maine has 30 days to accept, reject, or request changes to the lease.

Since the Biden-Harris administration took office, the Department of the Interior has approved the first eight commercial-scale offshore wind projects in the U. S. BOEM has conducted four offshore wind lease auctions, including sales in New York, New Jersey, the Carolinas, and the first sales in the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico.

BOEM is actively exploring more offshore wind development opportunities in areas like the Gulf of Maine and the U.S. Central Atlantic coast. The Department is also advancing efforts to support union-built projects and foster a domestic supply chain for offshore wind.


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