Request for Interest
On August 19, 2022, BOEM published a Request for Interest (RFI) for the Gulf of Maine in the Federal Register. The RFI was the first step in BOEM’s commercial planning and leasing process to identify the offshore locations that appear most suitable for development, taking into consideration potential impacts to resources and ocean users. The purpose of the RFI was to gauge interest in the development of commercial wind energy leases within the RFI Area, which consists of 13,713,825 acres in the Gulf of Maine. The RFI Area followed the RFI Development Framework shared at the May 2022 Task Force meeting, and mirrors the Draft RFI Area, with the exception of the expanded RFCI area, which is described in detail on the Maine Research Application page.
Through the RFI, BOEM sought feedback from stakeholders, industry, Tribes, and others regarding the location and size of specific areas they wish to be included in (or excluded from) a future offshore wind energy lease sale, along with other planning considerations. This information will be used to narrow the area to be considered for offshore wind development as BOEM moves forward with the Gulf of Maine planning and leasing process.
- RFI Federal Register Notice
- RFI Shapefile
- RFI Blocks
- RFI Nautical Chart Map
- Gulf of Maine Data Inventory (updated 8/12/2022)
- Note: BOEM created this Data Inventory to share a current snapshot (i.e., at the time of RFI publication) of the publicly available data layers it is currently considering as part of the planning process. BOEM is actively working with Federal and state partners to identify and request other known data sources in the Gulf of Maine. The creation of this Inventory is in response to feedback received at the May 2022 Task Force meeting, and is intended to help inform the public in providing comments on the RFI. BOEM will periodically update this document as more data become available and are incorporated into the planning and analysis.
BOEM also published a separate Request for Competitive Interest (RFCI) in response to the State of Maine’s research lease application. More information on that process can be found at https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/gulf-maine/state-maine-research-lease-application.
RFI Comment Period
Publication of the RFI in the Federal Register initiated a 45-day public comment period which closed at 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, October 3, 2022.
Comment submissions can be viewed by visiting:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the search box at the top of the webpage, enter BOEM-2022-0040 and then click “search.” Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view supporting and related material.
Planning and Leasing History
On October 13, 2021, Secretary Haaland announced an ambitious offshore wind leasing strategy for 2021-2025, which includes the goal of holding a commercial lease sale within the Gulf of Maine in 2024.
In advance of the May 19, 2022 Gulf of Maine Task Force Meeting, BOEM released the Gulf of Maine Planning Area. The Planning Area is the starting point for the commercial leasing process, and will be significantly reduced through the ensuing planning and leasing phases. The first reduction will occur through a Request for Interest (RFI). Beginning with an RFI allows BOEM to gauge commercial interest in offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine, while also maximizing the opportunity for the public to engage and provide input. BOEM prepared the RFI Development Framework to outline BOEM’s approach to developing a draft RFI and to receive feedback from the Task Force.
The discussion of wind energy development in the Gulf of Maine advanced in 2019, following the request from Governor Sununu of New Hampshire to create the Gulf of Maine Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force. The first Task Force meeting was held on December 12, 2019.