Gulf of Maine

Gulf of Maine RFCI Area

What's New?

Research Lease Application

On Jan.19, 2023, BOEM announced its “Determination of No Competitive Interest” for a research lease proposed by the State of Maine. BOEM’s determination means that the bureau will move forward to process the state’s research application, which could be used to inform any future commercial offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine.

The determination of no competitive interest in the RFCI area does not guarantee that the State of Maine will receive a research lease. The next steps for processing the research application include publishing a Determination of No Competitive Interest in the Federal Register and initiating an environmental review of potential impacts from offshore wind leasing activities associated with the research lease.

See our Research Lease Application page for additional details on this process.

Commercial Leasing

On January 10, 2023, BOEM announced a series of in-person and virtual meetings to solicit feedback on the next steps for the Gulf of Maine.

In August 2022, the Department of the Interior announced a “Request for Interest” (RFI) to gauge whether there is commercial interest in obtaining wind energy leases within an area in the Gulf of Maine consisting of about 13.7 million acres.

BOEM used information gained through public comment and industry nominations on the RFI, as well as spatial analysis advanced in partnership with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Center for Coastal and Ocean Science (NCCOS) and reduced the original RFI area by about 27% to 9.9 million acres. The reduced area, or draft Call Area, can be viewed below.

BOEM is hosting a series of meetings in January to solicit feedback on the Draft Call Area. Please see the Public Engagement section below for more details. 

BOEM is tentatively planning to host the next Gulf of Maine Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting in the spring of 2023.

Public Engagement

Related Press Releases

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.

Gulf of Maine RFI Area

Request for Interest (RFI)

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.
Video: Next Steps for Research and Commercial Leasing in the Gulf of Maine

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.

RFI Nominations

In response to the Request for Interest (RFI), BOEM received nominations of areas of interest from 5 developers. Each of the parties listed below has been legally, technically and financially qualified. 

Gulf of Maine RFI Company Nominations

History of Individual Gulf of Maine State Activities:

  • Maine
  • New Hampshire (New Hampshire renewable energy activities are fully captured by this regional Gulf of Maine page)
  • Massachusetts