Interior cuts Gulf of Maine offshore wind area

By Heather Richards | 03/15/2024 01:35 PM EDT

The agency has also started an environmental review of a New Jersey offshore wind project.

Lobster fishermen working at sunrise.

Lobster fishermen working at sunrise on Sept. 8, 2022, in the Gulf of Maine off Kennebunkport, Maine. Robert F. Bukaty/AP

The Interior Department will not sell offshore wind rights in the Gulf of Maine’s prime lobster area in an upcoming auction, according to a final plan released Friday on where to advance wind energy in the north Atlantic Ocean.

Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it has designated roughly 2 million acres in the Gulf of Maine for potential wind energy, enough to support 32 gigawatts of renewable electricity. The area is 40 percent smaller than a draft plan BOEM released last year and avoids habitat for the endangered North American right whale.

The move is a significant step toward holding the first auction in those waters later this year and could boost floating wind technology, an emerging field needed for deep waters. The final wind energy area lies off the coasts of Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, ranging from 23 to 92 miles from the coastline.


BOEM also said Friday that it has launched an environmental assessment of potential offshore wind impacts in the Gulf of Maine and that it is reviewing a new 157-turbine wind farm proposed by Shell New Energies and EDF Renewables off the New Jersey coast.