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BOEM Advancing Offshore Wind Energy for New Jersey and Gulf of Maine

offshore wind energy
Reviews are beginning for offshore wind energy for New Jersey and in the Gulf of Maine (file photo)

Published Mar 15, 2024 2:49 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management mapped out its next two steps in the ongoing efforts to implement the United States’ offshore wind energy program. A day after the U.S. marked the completion of its first large offshore wind farm, the agency overseeing the development process reports it is beginning the environmental review for the 1.5 GW Atlantic Shores North wind farm off New Jersey while the same time has completed the designation of a massive two-million-acre Wind Energy Area in the Gulf of Maine.

“BOEM is continuing to implement the Biden-Harris administration’s clean energy agenda, while maintaining a careful approach to prevent, reduce, and address any adverse effects on ocean users and the marine ecosystem,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “As an integral part of our environmental assessments, we will continue to actively solicit feedback from Tribes; federal, state, and local government partners; the fishing community; and the public to help guide our actions.”

The launching of the effort to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Construction and Operation Plan for the Atlantic Shores project marks the twelfth wind energy COP environmental review they have initiated. It is another step toward the goal of 30 GW of offshore wind energy capacity in the U.S. by 2030.

Atlantic Shores is a project proposed by Shell New Energies and EDF Renewables and according to BOEM’s announcement, the plan calls for 157 wind turbines, eight offshore substations, one permanent meteorological tower, and two potential export cable corridors that would make landfall in Sea Girt, New Jersey and either the New York City area or near Asbury Park, New Jersey. 

The lease area, which the company was awarded in 2018 is more than 81,000 acres located at least eight miles off the New Jersey coast and 60 miles from New York. The company holds a total of three leases in the area with Atlantic Shores North targeting operations by 2027 to become New Jersey’s first wind farm. BOEM is initiating a 45-day comment period till early May as it begins the review for the project.

 

BOEM is designating a massive new wind area (green) for the Gulf of Maine (lower left shows the existing leases)

 

BOEM also today announced it has finalized the area in the Gulf of Maine as the next step toward the second goal which is 15 GW of floating offshore wind energy capacity by 2035. They highlight area while 43 percent smaller than the draft released last October, has the potential to support the generation of 32 GW, which surpasses the 10 GW goal from Massachusetts and the 3 GW goal from Maine.

The area is in a range between 23 and 92 miles off the coast. It ranges from Maine to Massachusetts and New Hampshire. BOEM finalized the area after extensive engagement with the states and interested parties including ocean users and the fishing community. A 30-day public comment period is beginning

Based on the feedback they highlight that it was reduced 80 percent from the initial area identified for potential leasing. BOEM notes it will further seek to avoid or minimize remaining ocean use and resource conflicts in subsequent phases of the leasing process.

Moving these two elements forward, BOEM highlights it has now approved six commercial-scale offshore wind projects. They also conducted four auctions during the Biden administration and are exploring additional potential both in the Gulf of Maine and the Central Atlantic.