OCTOBER 19, 2018 — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke this week announced three major developments in American offshore wind energy spanning from coast to coast: a much-anticipated wind auction in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts; the environmental review of a proposed wind project offshore Rhode Island; and the next steps to a first-ever wind auction in federal waters off of California.
“We are always looking at new ways to increase American innovation and productivity to provide abundant and affordable energy for our homes and manufacturers,” said Secretary Zinke. I think this is a win for America. Working together with states, fishermen and the energy industry, we are making offshore wind a reality, and these three historic announcements are proof.”
Wind Auction Offshore Massachusetts
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold the next offshore wind auction – to include nearly 390,000 acres offshore Massachusetts – on Dec. 13, 2018. Nineteen companies have qualified to participate in the auction for the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area, demonstrating continued strong commercial interest in the U.S. offshore wind market.
“The Massachusetts sale has a lot of potential for both energy and economic activity,” Zinke said. “If fully developed, the wind auction could support approximately 4.1 gigawatts of power to supply nearly 1.5 million homes. This is just one example of the importance of fostering wind energy as a new American industry.”
Environmental Review of Wind Project Offshore Rhode Island
BOEM will publish a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Construction and Operations Plan for the South Fork Wind Project offshore Rhode Island. If approved, the plan would allow construction and operation of up to 15 turbines that connect via a transmission cable to a grid in East Hampton, New York – the east end of Long Island. The project is approximately 19 miles southeast of Block Island. The notice will be published in the Federal Register on Oct. 19 and will have a 30-day public comment period closing on Nov. 19.
Call for Information and Nominations Offshore California
In what could result in the first West Coast offshore wind auction, BOEM will publish a Call for Information and Nominations (Call) to identify companies interested in commercial wind energy leases within three proposed areas off central and northern California. This is the first step towards offering a location for wind leasing.
The three Call Areas include 85 whole Outer Continental Shelf blocks and 573 partial blocks and together comprise approximately 1,073 square miles (687,823 acres). The Call will be published in the Federal Register on Oct. 19 and will have a 100-day public comment period closing on Jan. 27, 2019.
More on the Massachusetts auction HERE
More on the Rhode Island environmental review HERE
More on the California call for information HERE