More zones set for Massachusetts and New York

UNITED STATES: The US government is offering new offshore zones for wind power development off Massachusetts and New York.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke reportedly backed offshore wind deployment in the US (pic: Gage Skidmore)

Interior secretary Ryan Zinke announced a proposed competitive lease sale for two areas off Massachusetts totalling nearly 1,580km2. An auction will be held later this year for the areas.

In 2016, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) received unsolicited applications for the areas, from developers PNE Wind and Statoil.

Three projects are already under way off Massachusetts: Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid's 800MW Vineyard Wind, Ørsted and Eversource's 800MW Bay State Wind, and Deepwater Wind's 400MW Revolution project.

BOEM also said that it is seeking information and industry interest in offshore wind development within the New York Bight region, between Long Island and the New Jersey coast.

The four areas off New York have been named Fairways North, Fairways South, Hudson North and Hudson and comprise 7,020km2.

Elsewhere off New York, Statoil has a lease area that it says could accommodate the up-to-1GW Empire Wind project.

In comments that took the industry by surprise, Zinke said at a recent symposium offshore that wind energy is the "morally the right thing to do".

"We think there's an enormous opportunity for wind because of our God-given resources off the coast. We're pretty good at innovating," Zinke said at the International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum 2018, local media reported.