Interior moves forward on Massachusetts and Rhode Island offshore wind

siemens-turbineAs part of the "Smart from the Start" offshore wind energy initiative to speed siting, leasing and construction of new offshore wind projects, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich today announced the initial steps to develop commercial wind energy on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

A Call for Information and Nominations (Call), which is available for review in today's Federal Register, invites developers to identify locations within an offshore area in which they seek commercial leases for developing wind projects. BOEMRE is also seeking public comment – through a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment – on important environmental issues and reasonable alternatives related to the proposed leasing, site characterization and assessment activities in the offshore area under consideration.

"Today's announcement reflects the kind of efficient, forward-thinking planning we must do to quickly and responsibly stand up an American offshore wind industry," Secretary Salazar said. "By focusing on priority areas with high wind potential and fewer conflicts and conducting early, coordinated reviews, we can accelerate the leasing process and drive investment, development, and jobs to Rhode Island and Massachusetts." said Secretary Salazar

"This is a major step forward in our efforts to promote wind energy off the Atlantic Coast," said BOEMRE Director Bromwich. "We are seeking to determine commercial interest in the identified area and to collect information relevant to mitigating potential impacts to the environment that could result from these activities. This process will ensure that offshore wind projects are developed in the right way and in the right places."

The designated location under consideration in today's announcement - the Call area - is within an Area of Mutual Interest (AMI) identified by Rhode Island and Massachusetts inJuly 2010. The Call area was subsequently identified through consultation with BOEMRE's Rhode Island and Massachusetts Renewable Energy Task Forces, which include federal, state, and tribal government partners, and using information gathered by the State of Rhode Island in its Special Area Management Plan for the AMI. Both BOEMRE and state officials gathered stakeholder input before finalizing the Call area.

A map of the Call area is accessible HERE

August 18, 2011

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