The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued a finding of no competitive interest in an area offshore Maine where Statoil North America has requested a commercial wind energy lease.
The decision clears the way under BOEM's non-competitive leasing process for Statoil to submit a plan for a pilot project to demonstrate floating wind turbine technology.
The proposed lease area covers approximately 22 square miles, located about 12 nautical miles offshore Maine. It would be the site of a 12 MW pilot project consisting of four offshore wind turbines.
The proposed Hywind Maine project would be the first to use floating offshore wind turbine technology in the U.S. The company has a prototype of a similar turbine in Norway that has been in operation since 2009. Statoil's Hywind Maine project is among the seven offshore wind projects that received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy last week.
In October 2011, Statoil NA submitted to BOEM an unsolicited application for a commercial wind energy lease in federal waters offshore Maine. As an initial step in the leasing process, on Aug. 10, 2012, BOEM issued a request for interest (RFI) to determine whether there were other developers interested in constructing wind energy facilities in the same area proposed by Statoil.
The RFI also solicited public comment on site conditions and multiple uses within the proposed lease area that would be relevant to evaluating the project and its potential impacts. The public comment period under the RFI closed on Oct. 9. BOEM received 11 responses to the RFI, none of which expressed a competitive interest in the area proposed by Statoil North America.
Concurrent with the RFI, BOEM also issued a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement that requested comments from the public for the purpose of identifying important issues to be considered.