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June 25, 2014

DOI Announces Largest U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Area for Development

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on June 17 announced that more than 742,000 acres offshore of Massachusetts will be available for commercial wind energy leasing. The proposed area is the largest in federal waters and will nearly double the federal offshore acreage available for commercial-scale wind energy projects. The Proposed Sale Notice announcement triggers a 60-day public comment period ending on August 18, 2014.

The Massachusetts Wind Energy Area is located approximately 12 miles offshore Massachusetts. DOI's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) proposes to auction the Wind Energy Area as four leases. To date, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two non-competitive leases (Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts and an area off the coast of Delaware) and three competitive leases (two offshore Massachusetts-Rhode Island and another offshore Virginia). To date, competitive lease sales have generated about $5.4 million in high bids for more than 277,000 acres in federal waters. BOEM is expected to hold additional competitive auctions for Wind Energy Areas offshore Maryland and New Jersey later this year. See the DOI press release.