Massachusetts Auction Boosts Offshore Wind Power Opportunity and Highlights Policy Needs

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of the Interior auctioned more than 350,000 acres of federal waters far off the coast of Massachusetts for offshore wind power development. The competitive auction was the fourth of its kind, doubling the area currently leased in the Atlantic for this much-needed new clean energy source. Combined with the adjacent Wind Energy Area leased back in July, 2013, southern New England now has enough area leased to generate more than 5,000 megawatts of homegrown offshore wind energy – enough to power well over one million homes.

Massachusetts Wind Energy Area. The two uppermost areas were sold in yesterday's competitive lease auction (BOEM).

Massachusetts Wind Energy Area. The two uppermost areas were sold in yesterday’s competitive lease auction (BOEM).

“We are pleased to see continued commercial interest in the offshore wind industry, as demonstrated by today’s lease sale, particularly given the water depth of the wind energy area offshore Massachusetts. With provisional winners who are well established and have experience in developing wind energy facilities, we are optimistic about a strong renewable energy future offshore Massachusetts.” -Abigail Ross Hopper, Director of U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Massachusetts legislators are currently debating where our energy should come from, and the swift finalization of that process just got even more pressing. Yesterday’s auction underscores the urgent need to enact a strong and effective state policy to provide market certainty for the vast amount of power off our shores. We need state leadership to respond to the environmental and economic challenges facing Massachusetts communities. It’s time to advance real solutions that will help fend of the extreme storms driven by climate change, unhinge ratepayers from the  natural gas market roller coaster, and create long-term high-quality jobs for the Commonwealth.

Across the Atlantic, offshore wind has been advancing for more than 20 years... it's time for the US to catch up! (photo: London Array)

(photo: London Array)

“Today’s offshore wind power auction brings us one step closer to realizing the truly clean energy future that people and wildlife need to protect us from the dangers of climate change,” said Catherine Bowes, Senior Manager for Climate & Energy at National Wildlife Federation. “Responsibly developed offshore wind power can provide a massive supply of clean electricity right when we need it – protecting ratepayers from the volatility of the natural gas market and spurring substantial local job creation. What’s needed now is leadership from Governor Baker and our legislative leaders to ensure that offshore wind power plays a major role in the Commonwealth’s energy future.”

 

We are at a pivotal moment. Massachusetts’s leaders need to hear our resounding support for the responsible advancement of offshore wind power. Today, we took a step in the right direction – and now we need to ensure that step is met with a policy that can cultivate real and persisting momentum toward the clean energy future critical to protecting wildlife and future generations from the dangers of climate change.

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