Massachusetts offshore leasing process launched

UNITED STATES: The US government has launched the leasing process for a potential multi-GW offshore project off Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

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 Cape Wind wind farm.

The call for submissions has been launched by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). It follows a similar announcement for areas off Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

BOEM is also seeking public comment about site conditions and other existing uses of the identified area that would be relevant to the authorisation process. 

Speaking about the move, BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau said: "BOEM recognizes the proactive steps that the commonwealth has taken to encourage environmentally sound offshore wind energy development and we are working together to refine a suitable Wind Energy Area off the coast of Massachusetts.

"We will follow marine spatial planning principles as we continue to gather information and coordinate with other OCS users throughout the leasing process."

The US Department of the Interior is set to fast track leasing of areas for wind energy development off the coasts of Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland.

The move comes after a study by BOEM concluded the development of offshore wind farms off the off the four states would have no significant environmental impact.

Its conclusion allows the DOI to progress its 'Smart from the Start' initiative to fast track offshore development on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.