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BOEM to review Maine research lease's environmental impact

4C Offshore | James Bernthal-Hooker
By: James Bernthal-Hooker 04/05/2023 BOEM
America’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced the next step towards granting a research lease for floating wind in the Gulf of Maine.

The agency will conduct a review of potential environmental impacts associated with issuing the lease, which was requested by the State of Maine.

The potential research lease, 20 nautical miles offshore and roughly southeast of Portland, could hold 12 floating wind turbines, generating 144 MW of electricity. The state requested the lease in 2021. Earlier this year, BOEM determined that there was no competitive interest, meaning it could consider Maine’s application without the need for an auction.

Separately to this procedure, BOEM is planning to issue commercial leases within the Gulf of Maine in 2024. The auction process for that will follow numerous consultations, the most recent of which – a call for information and nominations – was opened on 25th April.

Developers who expressed interest in commercial leases in the Gulf of Maine at an earlier stage include Avangrid, Hexicon, Pine Tree Offshore Wind, TotalEnergies, and Mainstream Renewable Power.

The State of Maine has an offshore wind roadmap and will likely be the first east coast US state to develop floating wind. As well as the research array and eventual commercial-scale projects, there are plans for an 11 MW pilot, New England Aqua Ventus, to be build by the University of Maine and its development partners.

BOEM is planning to host a Gulf of Maine Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting in Bangor, Maine, in the next week.

“BOEM appreciates the value of research demonstration projects to advance floating wind technology,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “The Tribes, states, ocean users and stakeholders in the Gulf of Maine have valuable expertise on the issues facing this region, and we look forward to collaborating and working with everyone as we move forward.”

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.

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