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Windtech International May June 2024 issue

 

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BOEM releases draft wind energy area in the Gulf of Maine for public review and commentThe Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has identified a Draft Wind Energy Area (WEA) in the Gulf of Maine, opening a 30-day public review and comment period.
 
The Draft WEA covers approximately 3,519,067 acres offshore Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, ranging from approximately 23 - 120 miles off the coast. The Draft WEA announced has a capacity of over 40GW, which exceeds the current combined offshore wind energy planning goals for the Gulf of Maine states: 10 GW for Massachusetts and 3 GW for Maine. Future adjustments to the Draft WEA will likely be made after incorporating feedback during the comment period, while striving to retain sufficient area to meet the Gulf of Maine states’ planning goals.
 
To identify the Draft WEA, BOEM worked collaboratively with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to develop an ocean planning model that identifies and minimizes conflicts with coastal and marine resources and ocean users. BOEM also met with and incorporated feedback from Tribes, fishers, and the public to refine the model and inform the potential offshore locations that appear most suitable for floating offshore wind energy development.
 
The Draft WEA avoids Lobster Management Area 1 and all North Atlantic Right Whale Restricted Areas. The Draft WEA also avoids other important fishing areas and habitats, including important groundfish areas east of the Western Gulf of Maine Closure and within the 10-kilometer buffer from Georges Bank, Platts Bank, Parker Ridge, and Three Dory Ridge. In response to initial conversations with Tribal Nations located within Maine, the Draft WEA strives to avoid a majority of the historic and present fishing grounds of those Tribes. BOEM will continue to consult with all Tribal Nations and other stakeholders who have an interest in the region to understand their concerns with potential offshore wind energy development and minimize conflicts.
 
BOEM also seeks comments on whether to add all or parts of three secondary areas that were identified for additional analysis but not part of the Draft WEA.  During the 30-day public comment period starting on Oct. 19, 2023, BOEM will hold a series of public meetings to outline data and information used to inform the Draft WEA and to discuss next steps.
 
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