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The US Department of the Interior is proposing new offshore wind sales

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The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) recently announced two proposals for offshore wind energy auctions off the coast of Oregon and in the Gulf of Maine.

The DOI said the two sales proposed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) have the potential to generate more than 18 GW of offshore wind energy, which is enough to power more than six million homes.

The announcement is part of the U.S. federal government’s commitment to expand offshore wind energy opportunities, building on President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda to develop a clean energy economy and make communities more resilient to make.

The proposed sales reflect a multi-year planning process that includes robust collaboration with tribes, local communities, federal and state agencies, ocean users and stakeholders to balance the complex social, environmental and economic factors.

BOEM’s strategic partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science has improved this process and integrated the best available ocean resource information to inform wind energy areas. In identifying these areas, BOEM prioritized avoiding offshore fishing grounds and identifying vessel transit routes while maintaining sufficient acreage to support the region’s offshore wind energy goals.

These efforts are intended to provide an informed foundation for combating multiple uses of the ocean in areas of future offshore wind energy development.

Gulf of Maine

The first-ever offshore wind energy auction in the Gulf of Maine Wind Energy Area would include eight lease areas off the coasts of Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, totaling nearly one million acres (404,685 hectares), which have the potential to generate approximately 15 GW of energy to generate. clean, renewable energy and electricity for more than five million households.

BOEM is requesting feedback on several aspects of the proposed lease areas, including the size, orientation and location of the eight lease areas and which areas, if any, should be prioritized for inclusion or exclusion from these lease sales.

BOEM proposes to conduct simultaneous auctions for each of the eight leasing areas, using multiple bidding. BOEM seeks comment on providing bid credits to bidders that commit to supporting workforce training programs or supply chain development, or a combination of both, as well as a credit for a fisheries compensation fund.

BOEM is also seeking comment on potential lease provisions related to vessel transit and basic environmental monitoring. Similar to recent lease agreements in other regions, BOEM is proposing lease terms to ensure that prospective tenants consider potentially affected stakeholders and communities, including tribes, historically disadvantaged communities and the fishing industry, early and often during the offshore wind energy development process and Involving.

Oregon

The proposed lease sale in Oregon includes two lease areas totaling 194,995 acres – one in the Coos Bay Wind Energy Area and the other in the Brookings Wind Energy Area – that have the potential to power more than one million homes with clean renewable energy.

In conjunction with the proposed lease sale, BOEM has released its draft environmental analysis of the potential impacts of the offshore wind leasing activities for public review and comment.

BOEM is seeking feedback on several proposed lease provisions that would reaffirm its commitment to continue strong engagement with tribal governments, the fishing industry, affected communities and other ocean users.

Possible provisions for the proposed sale in Oregon include providing bidding credits to bidders that commit to supporting workforce training programs for the floating offshore wind energy industry, developing a domestic supply chain for the floating offshore wind energy industry, or a combination of both. The proposal also includes providing bidding credits to bidders that commit to executing community benefit agreements with tribes, local communities, ocean users, or stakeholder groups expected to be affected by potential impacts from activities arising from the development of leases.