Proposed Sale Notices for the Oregon and Gulf of Maine

May 3, 2024
John Dalton

On April 30th BOEM issued the Proposed Sale Notices (PSN) for the Oregon and Gulf of Maine offshore wind lease areas. The Gulf of Maine PSN identified 8 proposed lease areas covering about 1 million acres that could support up to about 15 GW. Presented below is a map that highlights some of the most obvious Points of Interconnection (POIs) and identifies the various lease areas. This volume of offshore wind is in excess of the region’s current residual offshore wind goals of 11 GW, but supports the various estimates of the requirements for offshore wind to decarbonize the New England region’s electricity grid (up to 30 GW).  With a Gulf of Maine lease auction scheduled for October, the results of the offshore wind procurement being conducted by the three Southern New England states (Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island) should be known. This will provide insights into the remaining lease area available in Massachusetts and Rhode Island lease areas, which would represent competition from lower cost fixed foundation projects for the floating foundation projects that would be located in the Gulf of Maine.

On April 24th the Maine Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) issued a Request for Information to guide the development of the Request for Proposals for offshore wind, which the GEO will submit to the Maine Public Utilities Commission in July 2025. Recall that Maine has a legislated target of 3 GW of offshore wind. The two northern most lease areas are closest to Maine and would be well positioned to address Maine’s offshore wind procurement target, but would have to address the challenges posed by Maine’s transmission grid. The 6 southern lease areas would be well suited to coordinated transmission development with energy landed at any of the identified New Hampshire or Massachusetts POIs. The prospect of a coordinated procurement with other New England states is identified in the GEO’s RFI, suggesting that these southern lease areas could also be used to supply Maine.