Massachusetts continues to move forward with plans to develop offshore wind energy. The U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released more details about developments in the ocean area south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Maureen Bornholdt is the renewable energy manager for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. She told the audience at a public meeting in Boston last week that the federal agency will “shoot to have that lease sale in that fall time period” of 2013.
This gives wind energy developers about 5 years, until the end of 2018, to submit their construction and operations plans to the U.S. Interior Department.
It also means the leased areas have another 20 years to produce wind energy.
Massachusetts is counting on offshore wind to meet its aggressive renewable energy goal of generating 2,000 megwatts of wind energy by 2020. Wind turbines in the Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket regions has the potential to produce 4 gigawatts of energy. Bill White, assistant secretary of federal affairs at the Massachusetts energy and environmental agency, said that is enough power to support 1.7 million households within the state.
Governor Deval Patrick has supported measures to expedite offshore wind leases to meet Massachusetts’ renewable energy goals. However, he also agrees with delays in the process that are necessary so that everyone involved is able to review the plans and make comments.
“It’s hard to speculate whether this will impact our goals,” said Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs spokeswoman Krista Selmi.