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Monday, August 22, 2011

DOI, BOEMRE issue new Call for Information

On August 17, 2011, the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement’s announced a Call for Information and Nominations (“CFI”) for the development of offshore renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf adjacent to the state waters of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The Federal Register notice of the Call for Information and Nominations is available here.

The CFI invites developers to identify proposed project locations within the Area of Mutual Interest (“AMI”, also known as “the Call area”) identified by the state of Rhode Island and Massachusetts in a landmark agreement in July 2010. The Call area was designated in consideration of the Rhode Island Special Area Management Plan and through a process involving BOEMRE’s Rhode Island and Massachusetts Renewable Energy Task Forces, which include federal, state, and tribal government partners.

BOEMRE is also seeking public comment – through a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment – on important environmental issues and reasonable alternatives related to the proposed leasing, site characterization and assessment activities in the offshore area under consideration. The Notice of Intent to prepare the EA is available Request for Interest (RFI) regarding another area of the Outer Continental Shelf adjacent to Massachusetts state waters. BOEMRE is currently reviewing the information and nominations received in response to the RFI and will be drafting a separate Call to determine competitive interest after consulting with the BOEMRE – Massachusetts Renewable Energy Task Force. Once BOEMRE has completed its review of the RFI responses and public comments, the agency plans to issue a Call for Information and Nominations and will prepare an environmental assessment.

On August 18, 2011, Neptune Wind, an ocean-based renewable energy developer headquartered in Winchester, MA, announced its plan to respond to the CFI with a proposal to develop, construct and operate a 500 MW offshore wind farm approximately 20 nautical miles south of the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border. The project, entitled Nomans Wind, would be constructed in depths ranging from 20 to 40 meters and will employ turbines featuring a jacket structure foundation press release, Neptune Wind stated that it expects to submit its response and proposal by the October 3, 2011 deadline.

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