BOEM readies to auction wind leases in huge WEA off Martha’s Vineyard

NEW BEDFORD, MA – About 30 people attended a June 24 public meeting convened by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to get an update on leasing plans and environmental reports for what is now the largest offshore wind energy area (WEA) in federal waters.


BOEM issued a proposed sale notice on June 17, beginning a 60-day public comment period, which ends on Aug. 18, for the 742,947-acre Massachusetts WEA (see chart).

Located 12-14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, the Massachusetts WEA will be divvied up into four lease sites running approximately perpendicular to depth contours.  Bidders will be able to bid on one or all four of the lease areas.

This is the WEA that originally was proposed to be twice as big until Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and congressional representatives, swayed by fishing industry arguments, demanded the elimination of nearly 1,700 square miles of important fishing grounds from the area (see CFN June 2011).

Still, even at 1,132 square miles, the Massachusetts WEA doubles the amount of seafloor available for wind energy development in the US.  Along with the nearby 164,750-acre Rhode Island-Massachusetts WEA, the two wind energy areas now total nearly 1 million acres of wind farm development potential, covering some 1,532 square miles. ..


Read the rest and much, much more in the August issue of Commercial Fisheries News.

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