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POLITICO: Offshore Wind Moves

March 18, 2024

OFFSHORE WIND MOVES: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced

Friday it finalized the designation of a massive area for potential offshore wind power in

the Gulf of Maine. The wind energy area — which could support the generation of 32

gigawatts of power — totals about 2 million acres offshore Maine, Massachusetts and

New Hampshire. BOEM will now begin preparing an environmental assessment of the

potential impacts from offshore wind leasing in the area.

After hearing stakeholder feedback, the finalized area represents an 80 percent reduction

from the one BOEM initially identified for possible leasing and a 43 percent reduction

from the draft wind energy area, the agency said. BOEM said the reduced area avoids

locations of lobster fishing, North Atlantic right whale habitat and strives to avoid a

majority of the historical and present-day fishing grounds of tribes.

Seventeen fishing and fisheries management associations expressed concern

over the “rushed development process” of the area, however, in a joint statement shared

with ME. The statement acknowledged that the final area improves on earlier efforts, but

still laid out concerns that it “directly imperils” commercial fishing, sensitive habitats

and communities that depend on the fishing industry.

“To avoid wasteful over-development and ensure responsible planning for any potential

offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine, BOEM should defer this action until the

experience from other offshore wind developments can inform planning for the Gulf of

Maine,” the statement said.

Related: BOEM also announced Friday it will initiate the environmental review of the

proposed Atlantic Shores North offshore wind project off New Jersey. It marks the 12th

offshore wind construction and operations plan environmental review initiated under the

Biden administration.


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