United States

United States

US launches offshore assessment for Rhode Island/ Massachusetts

UNITED STATES: The US government has launched its environmental assessment for commercial wind leases for the Rhode Island/ Massachusetts Wind Energy Area on the Outer Continental Shelf.

US interior secretary Ken Salazar announced the move
US interior secretary Ken Salazar announced the move

The move was announced by the Department of the Interior secretary Ken Salazar, which said it would be able to offer the area "as one of the nation's first offshore competitive lease sales by the end of the year".

In February, the US government launched the leasing process for the potential multi-GW offshore project.

The total area in the call comprises over 826,000 acres and is 12 nautical miles off Martha's Vineyard and 13 southwest of Nantucket. The project would dwarf the 468MW Cape Wind wind farm.

The environmental assessment for the Rhode Island/Massachusetts Wind Energy Area will be used by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for future leasing decisions as part of the 'Smart from the Start' fast-track programme.

BOEM will host public information sessions on July 16 and 17 to determine whether to issue a 'Finding of No Significant Impact', or conduct additional analysis.

BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau said: "This environmental assessment is the first of its kind in the northeast and is based on thorough scientific and technical analysis and substantial stakeholder input to identify the most suitable location for commercial wind energy activities in this area offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

"We will continue to seek public participation in our process, including comments on this environmental assessment as we move forward with an innovative, targeted leasing approach to offshore wind."

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