BOSTON – The federal government plans in December to hold an offshore wind auction featuring 390,000 acres off the coast of Massachusetts, an area that officials say could provide enough power to serve 1.5 million homes.
“The Massachusetts sale has a lot of potential for both energy and economic activity,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement after announcing plans for the Dec. 13 auction while addressing the American Wind Energy Association’s Offshore Wind Conference on Wednesday in Washington.
The federal government has previously leased waters off the coast of Massachusetts for offshore wind development and one of those leaseholders, Vineyard Wind, was selected by state and utility officials to build an 800-megawatt commercial wind energy installation south of Martha’s Vineyard.
On March 30, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced its notice to prepare an environmental impact statement for the construction and operations plan submitted by Vineyard Wind.
Zinke also announced plans to publish in the Federal Register on Friday a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for the construction and operations plan for the 15-turbine South Fork Wind Project about 19 miles southeast of Block Island.
In another signal of the Trump administration’s support for offshore wind, Zinke described the next steps for the first wind energy auction governing the federal waters off the coast of California. The BOEM plans to publish a call for information and nominations to identify companies interested in commercial leases within three areas off central and northern California.