For Immediate Release - June 04, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces 10 Companies Interested in Offshore Wind Development in Federal Waters off Massachusetts Coast

Map of Massachusetts Offshore Wind Planning Area

BOSTON – June 4, 2012 – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced 10 companies have expressed interest in developing offshore wind projects in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts. The area, which has formally been designated as the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, is the largest offshore wind planning area on the East Coast and has the potential to generate 4,000 megawatts of clean energy.

The offshore wind developers expressing interest include Arcadia Offshore Massachusetts, Condor Wind Energy, Deepwater Wind New England, Energy Management Inc., enXco Development Corporation, Fishermen’s Energy, Iberdrola Renewables, Neptune Wind, Offshore MW and US Mainstream Renewable Power Offshore. 

“These are opportunities to seize,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Every state along the East Coast is working to develop offshore wind, but they are all competing for second place, because Massachusetts will be first.”

The announcement follows a major energy policy address by Governor Patrick. 

“Offshore wind is the largest indigenous and emissions-free energy resource in Massachusetts,” said Secretary Sullivan. “If it can be developed in a cost effective manner, we believe that offshore wind development will create thousands of clean energy jobs in Massachusetts and vastly improve the air quality for all our citizens for years to come.”

While the proposals from the 10 companies total 13,000 megawatts of wind energy, many of the project proposals submitted overlap. The Commonwealth estimates there will be up to 4,000 megawatts of wind energy installed offshore – enough electricity to power 1.7 million households and equal to the electricity currently generated by all the coal-fired power plants in Massachusetts. 

Earlier this year, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a Call for Information and Nominations, an early step in the leasing process for offshore wind energy development in federal waters off the Massachusetts coast.

BOEM’s federal offshore wind leasing process in Massachusetts, which is in its first phase of planning and analysis, began in November 2009.  The Massachusetts Renewable Energy Task Force – an interagency group of federal, state, tribal, and local elected officials – partnered with BOEM to draw the boundaries of the Massachusetts offshore wind planning area, which has excellent wind resources and water depths able to accommodate current and near term wind power technologies.  The area, which begins approximately 13.8 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, was reduced from 3,000 to 1,200 square miles after consultations with local leaders, fishermen, and environmental advocates.

The Commonwealth is already moving aggressively to foster a growing wind energy cluster in Massachusetts.  In addition to being home to Cape Wind, the nation’s first offshore wind project that will generate 468 megawatts of emissions free energy and create approximately 1,000 clean energy jobs, the Massachusetts offshore wind cluster includes:

  • The Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, funded with a U.S. DOE stimulus grant and operated by MassCEC, is the world’s largest wind blade testing facility and the only facility in the United States capable of testing the next generation of blades;
  • The New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, which will be the first facility in the country designed for the assembly, staging and construction of offshore, renewable projects;
  • Massachusetts-based Mass Tank’s plans to manufacture the foundation monopoles and other structural steel components for offshore wind turbines;
  • Global wind company Siemens has located its North American offshore wind headquarters in Boston;
  • TPI Composites, Inc., a leading global supplier of wind turbine blades, expanded its operations from Warren, RI to Fall River where the company is constructing a wind blade innovation center to support TPI manufacturing facilities around the world.
  • Global Marine Energy, a cable installation company, opened their national headquarters in Boston; and
  • American Superconductor, a Massachusetts based company working to develop a 10 megawatt wind turbine.

Massachusetts is also home to a significant brain trust in renewable energy development – including two of the nation’s leading academic institutions on wind research: the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, as well as the world’s largest nonprofit oceanography center, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) projects 43,000 clean energy jobs will be created in the offshore wind industry nationally by 2020.  DOE’s goal is to achieve 54,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy deployment at a cost of 7-9 cents per kilowatt-hour by the year 2030, with an interim target of 10,000 megawatts at 13 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020.

BOEM’s Call for Information and Nominations is part of the first phase under U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s “Smart from the Start” offshore wind renewable energy initiative. It allows BOEM to identify priority areas for potential wind energy development, and promotes an informed and responsible siting and permitting process for offshore wind projects. BOEM’s process has included eight Task Force meetings and over 30 public and stakeholder meetings throughout Massachusetts to date.  Additionally, the Commonwealth established the Fisheries Working Group and the Habitat Working Group to help inform the federal offshore wind leasing process.  BOEM will continue to work closely with the Massachusetts Offshore Renewable Energy Task Force, and is committed to continued public participation.  All projects will be subject to thorough environmental review under all applicable laws before any energy projects are permitted.

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