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US to auction two areas offshore Massachusetts for wind energy projects

EBR Staff Writer Published 09 April 2018

The US Department of Interior (DOI) has announced its plan to lease two additional areas offshore Massachusetts totaling 390,000 acres for development of wind energy projects.

The two specific zones, OCS-A 0502 and OCS-A 0503, cover an area of 248,015 acres and 140,554 acres respectively in federal waters on the outer continental shelf (OCS).

US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said: “The Trump Administration supports an all-of-the-above energy policy and using every tool available to achieve American energy dominance.

“The proposed sale area has tremendous offshore wind energy potential and the responsible development of it continues to play a big role in the Administration’s America-First Offshore Energy Strategy.

“This area represents the Department’s willingness to listen to stakeholder feedback, including the fishing community, and make the right adjustments.” ?

The proposed sale notice (PSN) for commercial wind power leasing offshore Massachusetts is expected to be published in the Federal Register on 11 April 2018 and will include 60 days of public comment period.

The document will contain the proposed lease provisions and conditions, auction details as well as the criteria for evaluating competing bids and award procedures.

US Interior Counselor for Energy Policy, Vincent DeVito stated “The proposed sales that we are announcing today are the result of extensive work with our partners in the Commonwealth and with a broad community of engaged stakeholders, including fishing communities.

“Together, we identified areas that can support a large-scale commercial wind project, while minimizing the impacts to fishing habitats, marine species, and other uses of the OCS.”

The PSN will also be issued to affirm the continued interest from developers who are already been qualified for commercial wind development off Massachusetts, as well as to gather qualification materials from potential bidders who have been qualified for a wind lease sale in the state.

US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) acting director Walter Cruickshank said: “This Administration’s bold vision for our energy future is reflected in its commitment to a diverse energy portfolio.

“We have come a long way, and I look forward to working with all of our partners and stakeholders in achieving a balanced approach to offshore wind development.”

Image: US intends to boost renewable energy capacity. Photo: courtesy of xedos4/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.