BOEM Finalizes Environmental Review of Research Lease in the Gulf of Maine

(Image credit: BOEM)

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the availability of its Final Environmental Assessment (Final EA) of an offshore wind research lease in the Gulf of Maine.

“Floating wind technology can make offshore wind a reality in the Gulf of Maine,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “BOEM will continue to work in partnership with the state of Maine as we move forward to facilitate the responsible development of offshore wind in this region, as well as the deployment of floating offshore wind technology nationwide.”

In October 2021, the state of Maine requested a research lease for the purpose of researching floating offshore wind energy technology and its deployment. The research site lies 28 nautical miles off the coast of Maine, roughly southeast of Portland, and if developed, would comprise up to 12 floating offshore wind turbines capable of generating up to 144 megawatts of renewable energy.

On May 29, 2024, BOEM will publish the “Notice of Availability of a Final Environmental Assessment for a Wind Energy Research Lease on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Maine” in the Federal Register. After carefully considering alternatives described and analyzed in the Final EA, as well as comments from the public and cooperating and consulting agencies on the Draft EA, BOEM finds that the issuance of a wind energy research lease within the proposed lease area offshore Maine, and related site characterization and site assessment activities, would have no significant impact on the environment. As a result, under the National Environmental Policy Act, BOEM is not required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in order to issue a wind energy research lease offshore Maine.

Upon completion of the Final EA and finding of no significant impacts, BOEM offered the research lease to the State of Maine on May 24, 2024. The State of Maine has 30 calendar days to accept, reject, or request modifications to the lease.

Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the Department of the Interior has approved the nation’s first eight commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects. BOEM has held four offshore wind lease auctions, including sales offshore New York and New Jersey and the Carolinas, and the first-ever sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts. BOEM is exploring additional opportunities for offshore wind energy development in the US, including in the Gulf of Maine and the US Central Atlantic coast. The Department also continues to take steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive towards union-built projects and a domestic-based supply chain.

More information about the Final EA and the research lease can be found on BOEM’s website.

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