On Mar. 15, 2024, BOEM announced the designation of a Final Wind Energy Area (Final WEA) in the Gulf of Maine. The WEA totals about two million acres offshore Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, ranging from approximately 23 – 92 miles off the coast.

BOEM finalized the WEA after extensive engagement with the states of Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, Tribes, local residents, ocean users including the fishing community, federal government partners, and other members of the public. Based on the feedback received about natural and cultural resources and current ocean uses, the WEA represents an 80% reduction from the area BOEM initially identified for possible leasing and a 43% reduction from the Draft WEA.

The Gulf of Maine Final Wind Energy Area can be viewed in the Data Explorer under Energy & Infrastructure > Planning Areas.

The resulting WEA avoids important areas for lobster fishing, North Atlantic right whale habitat, and other important fishing areas and habitats. Additionally, in response to initial conversations with Tribal Nations located within Maine, the WEA strives to avoid a majority of the historical and present-day fishing grounds of those Tribes.

The Final WEA has the potential to support generation of 32 GW of clean energy, surpassing current state goals for offshore wind energy in the Gulf of Maine: 10 GW for Massachusetts and 3 GW for Maine. Therefore, the size of the Final WEA will allow BOEM to consider additional deconfliction, while also supporting the region’s renewable energy goals and the potential for multiple lease sales, as BOEM continues to evaluate a phased leasing approach.

BOEM will conduct an environmental review of the Final WEA to assess potential impacts from offshore wind leasing activities (i.e., site characterization and site assessment activities). The Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) was published in the Federal Register on Mar. 18, 2024, initiating a 30-day public comment period. BOEM must receive comments no later than April 17, 2024

Through the NOI, BOEM is specifically seeking public input regarding important environmental issues and the identification of reasonable alternatives that should be considered in the EA. The environmental impacts of any proposed wind energy projects will be assessed after a lease is issued and before BOEM decides whether or not to approve any lessee’s project construction and operations plan.

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