BOEM to lease more areas off Mass.

Source: Emily Yehle, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, March 13, 2017

The Interior Department plans to open new waters off Massachusetts to offshore wind development, after two companies submitted unsolicited requests to lease the area.

The lease areas total more than 380,000 acres. PNE Wind USA Inc. and Statoil Wind both expressed interest in the same area, prompting Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to decide to proceed with the competitive leasing process, according to an email sent today to stakeholders.

PNE Wind proposed projects in two lease areas that would generate 400 megawatts each, with as many as 50 turbines in each location. Statoil — which bid a record $42.5 million last year to win a lease off New York — wants to build a wind farm on one lease area that would initially generate as much as 600 MW.

BOEM said it will keep interested groups informed of the next steps in the leasing process.

PNE Wind also submitted a request to lease almost 41,000 acres off New York. BOEM has not yet decided whether to move forward with that application.

Collin O’Mara, president of the National Wildlife Federation, applauded the news as a “clear sign of momentum in the Northeast.”

“Responsibly developed offshore wind power is America’s golden opportunity to create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs, while providing pollution-free power right where it’s needed and avoiding wildlife impacts,” he said. “The National Wildlife Federation applauds our state and federal leaders for the vision and commitment today’s action represents.”