Offshore wind will take years to be a reality

Posted 6/8/11

NEW BEDFORD – It will be a long time before offshore wind is a reality in the federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard, reported.

The complex process of leasing, planning and assessing by multiple agencies will take years, and should do so, officials said during a public information session Tuesday.

Officials from the Mass. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement attended the event at the Fairfield Inn to offer the public an update on the proposal to lease up to 1,300 square miles of federal waters for offshore wind turbines.

“The most time-consuming investment, and the best investment, is in the planning and analysis,” said Maureen A. Bornholdt, program manager for the Ocean Energy Bureau’s Offshore Alternative Energy Programs.

Bornholdt said a request for interest issued by the federal government last December drew responses from 10 commercial entities. Since then, one has withdrawn and “two or three” have resubmitted their applications since the sites they selected subsequently fell in protected fishing grounds.

There is currently no best estimate available for how long the process may take, reported. Officials will return to Fall River to address conflicts between turbine fields and fishing gear in the area.

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