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Identifying a Draft Wind Energy Area in the Gulf of Maine

Published on: 10/19/2023
Region(s) of Study: Waterbodies / Gulf of Maine
Primary Contact(s): james.morris@noaa.gov

NCCOS is once again working alongside the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the lead agency for offshore energy development, to continue expanding offshore wind energy in U.S. waters.

An area outlined offshore of Maine. A blue polygon is colored in the center.

Map of the draft WEA in the Gulf of Maine, with the blue areas representing the Draft WEA and the black outline representing the original Call Area.

BOEM has identified a Draft Wind Energy Area (WEA) in the Gulf of Maine. NCCOS has played a pivotal role in this endeavor by using authoritative ocean data to create suitability models that simplify complex space-use information into a more understandable format. These models help identify areas that have minimal conflicts with other ocean users and NOAA Trust Resources within the desired ocean space, paving the way for sustainable offshore wind development. The process has included extensive engagement with various stakeholders, including Tribal Nations, fishermen, and the general public, whose input has helped refine the model and in turn, the Draft WEA. 

The Draft WEA spans around 3.5 million acres off the coasts of Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. This area presents a promising opportunity for offshore wind development, with a capacity of over 40 gigawatts, exceeding the current planning goals for the Gulf of Maine states and with the potential to power 30 million homes for a year.

With the Draft WEA now open for a 30-day public review and comment period, the public is encouraged to participate in this crucial phase by visiting regulations.gov and searching for docket number BOEM-2023-54. Comments will be accepted until November 20, 2023.

NCCOS, in collaboration with BOEM, is committed to guiding the way toward a greener Blue Economy  and more sustainable future in offshore wind energy, using the power of spatial modeling to support responsible decision-making and promote environmentally friendly offshore wind development. This effort contributes to the Biden-Harris administration's goal of significant offshore wind capacity by 2030.

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