State of Maine Research Lease Application

Gulf of Maine RFCI Area

Request for Competitive Interest

On August 19, 2022, BOEM published a Request for Competitive Interest (RFCI) for the Gulf of Maine in the Federal Register. The RFCI is the next step in processing the State of Maine’s application for a research lease and provides notice of the proposed research area that Maine requested. BOEM is issuing this RFCI because regulations require that BOEM identify whether or not there is competitive commercial interest in any area that is the subject of an unsolicited lease request. BOEM invites submission of indications of commercial interest, as well as comments from interested and affected parties.

If BOEM determines there is no competitive interest for a lease in response to this notice, BOEM will move forward with the research application, which could be used to inform any future commercial offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine, as well as the deployment of floating offshore wind technology nationwide. BOEM recognizes the value of research, including many of the research priorities outlined in the State of Maine’s research lease application. However, if BOEM determines there is competitive interest, BOEM may decide to move forward with the lease issuance process using competitive leasing procedures.

See this graphic for a visual depiction of the pathways for the research lease depending on the determination of competitive interest.

Maine’s application requests 9,700 acres on the OCS in a location more than 20 nautical miles off the Maine coast. If developed, the Research Array would consist of up to 12 floating offshore wind turbines capable of generating up to 144 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy.

The RFCI Area (68,320 acres) expands upon Maine’s requested research lease area to allow future siting flexibility to avoid or minimize conflicts with existing ocean users should a lease (research or commercial) be issued. Only one project, approximately the size of Maine’s research lease proposal (i.e., no more than 10,000 acres and no more than 12 floating turbines), will have the potential to move forward.

BOEM also published a separate Request for Interest (RFI), the first step in the commercial planning and leasing process. More information on that process can be found at https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/gulf-maine/gulf-maine-commercial-planning-and-leasing-process.

How to Comment

Publication of the RFI in the Federal Register will initiate a 45-day public comment period ending at 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, October 3, 2022. Companies interested in submitting their nomination(s) should follow the directions contained in the Federal Register Notice.

Public comments can be submitted via the following ways:

  1. 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 materials.

  2. Mail to the address listed below.

    Zachary Jylkka
    Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
    Office of Renewable Energy Programs
    45600 Woodland Road
    Mailstop: VAM-OREP, Sterling, VA 20166

For tips on how to submit a helpful comment, please see BOEM’s How to Comment Fact Sheet.