Federal ocean managers plan to lease ocean waters south of Massachusetts to developers of offshore wind energy projects. This month the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management opened its leasing process for 826,241 acres of water about 12 nautical miles south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
The newly opened leasing area is relatively large -- about 6% larger than the state of Rhode Island, or about 50 times larger than the 25 square mile footprint proposed for the Cape Wind project. Nevertheless it is less than half of the size of the area originally proposed for offshore wind leasing off Massachusetts.
BOEM's "Smart from the Start" leasing process includes holding public meetings to allow stakeholders to weigh in. This week BOEM held meetings in Vineyard Haven, New Bedford, and Boston.
BOEM's Call for Information and Nominations for the waters off Massachusetts asks developers to indicate interest by March 22, 2012.