BOEM Announces Finding of No Competitive Interest for Commercial Wind Leasing Offshore Maine

2012-12-18 Washington, D.C.

Contact: Tracey Moriarty, 703-787-1571

As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to expand domestic energy development, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today announced its finding that there is no competitive interest in an area offshore Maine where Statoil North America (Statoil NA) has requested a commercial wind lease. The decision clears the way under BOEM’s non-competitive leasing process for Statoil to submit a plan for a pilot project to demonstrate floating wind turbine technology.

The proposed lease area covers approximately 22 square miles, located about 12 nautical miles offshore Maine, and would be the site of a 12-megawatt pilot project consisting of four wind turbine generators (WTGs). The proposed “Hywind Maine” project would be the first to use floating offshore wind turbine technology in the United States. Statoil has a prototype of a similar turbine in Norway that has been in operation since 2009. Statoil’s Hywind Maine project is among the seven innovative offshore wind projects that received funding awards recently from the Department of Energy.

“This exciting project offshore Maine is pioneering the development and testing of floating wind power technology capable of deployment in deep water,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau.

In Oct. 2011, Statoil NA submitted to BOEM an unsolicited application for a commercial wind energy lease in federal waters offshore Maine. As an initial step in the leasing process, on August 10, 2012, BOEM issued a Request for Interest (RFI) to determine whether there were other developers interested in constructing wind facilities in the same area proposed by Statoil. The RFI also solicited public comment on site conditions and multiple uses within the proposed lease area that would be relevant to evaluating the project and its potential impacts. The public comment period under the RFI closed on October 9, 2012.

BOEM received eleven responses to the RFI, none of which expressed a competitive interest in the area proposed by Statoil North America. Accordingly, BOEM will publish a Determination of No Competitive Interest in the Federal Register at http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html on Dec. 19, 2012. The Federal Register notice will also be posted on BOEM’s website at http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/State-Activities/Maine.aspx.

The majority of the comments submitted to BOEM discussed potential effects on viewshed, commercial and recreational fishing, birds, and marine mammals, which BOEM will consider during the course of evaluating the project and its potential environmental impacts.

Concurrent with the RFI, BOEM also issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that requested comments from the public for the purpose of identifying important issues to be considered. The EIS will analyze the reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences associated with issuing the lease and constructing and operating the WTGs.

For more information on BOEM’s Renewable Energy Program, click here.