Habitat Working Group on Offshore Wind Energy

Find information about the Habitat Working Group on Offshore Wind Energy administered by the the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
NOTE: The next meeting of the Habitat Working Group on Offshore Wind Energy will be held on May 9 from 9:30-12:30 at the CZM Office in Boston. Agenda and meeting logistics will be posted here soon.

Offshore wind energy is the largest ocean-based renewable energy resource in Massachusetts. Significant progress has been made on the planning, siting, analysis, and leasing for potential offshore wind energy projects in federal waters off the Commonwealth. In federal waters, the leasing of the Outer Continental Shelf for renewable energy is the authority of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Since 2009, Massachusetts has been working closely with BOEM, participating on an Intergovernmental Task Force comprised of federal, state, tribal, and local agency representatives and elected officials. For more information, see the BOEM Renewable Energy web page and the BOEM Massachusetts Activities web page.

To augment the Intergovernmental Task Force process and engage directly with key stakeholders, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC) convened two working groups for marine habitat and fisheries issues. While the working groups are voluntary and informal, they provide a critically important forum for maintaining a dialogue with key stakeholders, getting their feedback and guidance, and identifying issues and concerns. Input from the working groups has directly resulted in accommodations to avoid important marine habitat, fishing grounds, and marine commerce routes in the designation of the wind energy lease areas. The working groups will continue to provide valuable advice as leaseholders proceed through the next phases of the BOEM wind energy commercial leasing process, including site assessments, environmental and technical reviews, and development of construction and operations plans.

Participants

The Habitat Working Group on Offshore Wind Energy is comprised of scientists and technical experts from environmental organizations, academia, state and federal agencies, and members of the offshore wind industry. 

The group is convened by Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental affairs. Past and present participants have included representatives from: 

Non-profit, academic, and research organizations

Center for Coastal Studies
Conservation Law Foundation
Mass Audubon
Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Partnership
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant
New England Aquarium
National Wildlife Federation
Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems
Regional Wildlife Science Collaborative
Responsible Offshore Science Alliance
The Nature Conservancy
University of Massachusetts

Agencies

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Office of Renewable Energy Programs
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Office of Coastal Zone Management

Developers and contractors

Avangrid Renewables
Equinor
Orsted
SouthCoast Wind
Vineyard Offshore

Meetings

Meetings of the Habitat Working Group on Offshore Wind Energy are ad hoc, generally convened quarterly or at certain benchmark points in the wind energy commercial leasing process.

Next meeting

May 9, 2024 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in person at the CZM office in Boston

Upcoming meetings

September 26, 2024 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., virtual

December 5, 2024 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., virtual

Past meetings

February 5, 2024

October 12, 2023

May 31, 2023

February 9, 2023

September 8, 2022

April 28, 2022

January 10, 2022

September 14, 2021

May 27, 2021

February 26, 2021

December 11, 2020

December 20, 2019

March 6, 2019

May 17, 2017

June 28, 2016

March 10, 2016

November 2, 2015

April 30, 2015

June 23, 2014

November 15, 2012

September 18, 2012

February 14, 2012

September 20, 2011

May 4, 2011

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