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BOEM identifies Massachusetts wind energy area

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced today that it had finalized its commerical Wind Energy Area in federal waters near Massachusetts.

“The Wind Energy Area that we are announcing today is the result of extensive work with our partners in the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts] and with a broad community of stakeholders as we move forward with responsible leasing and development of offshore wind resources,” said BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau. “The area off of Massachusetts has tremendous energy generation potential, and we will continue to evaluate and mitigate the potential impacts of offshore wind energy development on wildlife habitat, fisheries and sea bird migration.”

The defined area includes approximately 742,974 acres, 117 whole lease blocks and 20 partial lease blocks.

Offshore wind observers praised the announcement as a sign of progress.

“Today’s announcement is a step forward in the much needed clean energy transformation,” said Jacqueline Savitz, Oceana’s vice president for North America. “This announcement should send a signal to investors that the U.S. is serious about building offshore wind, since we have the potential to become a leader in building a clean energy economy.”

In the final area, BOEM announced that it had excluded an “area of high sea duck concentration” and an area of “high value fisheries.”

BOEM officials will conduct an environmental assessment for the defined Wind Energy Area. A map of the area is available at http://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy-program/state-activities/Massachusetts.aspx.