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Maine's offshore wind research array clears an initial regulatory hurdle

In this Aug. 15, 2016 file photo, three of Deepwater Wind's five turbines stand in the water off Block Island, R.I, the nation's first offshore wind farm.
Michael Dwyer
/
AP file
In this Aug. 15, 2016 file photo, three of Deepwater Wind's five turbines stand in the water off Block Island, R.I, the nation's first offshore wind farm.

As momentum builds for developing offshore wind energy in the Gulf of Maine, a proposed research array of wind turbines is one small-step closer to regulatory approval, after a July determination from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The state of Maine is developing the research array in partnership with New England Aqua Ventus. It would include up to 12 floating wind turbines 44 miles southeast of Portland, generating up to 144 megawatts of power.

The federal agency determined that a research lease of up to 10,000 acres in federal waters is consistent with the Maine Coastal Zone Management Program. This lease is a preliminary step that would not authorize the placement of wind turbines, but would allow for the deployment of a meteorological ocean buoy, and other activities to gather data in the lease area.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection will accept comments on the bureau's determination by email through Sept. 8. BOEM expects to issue a final environmental analysis for the research array sometime this fall.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.

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