Offshore wind energy development update at public forum next week


State and federal officials will hold a public information session about the status and the next steps in the development of offshore wind projects in federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard on June 9 from 5-7 pm.

The information session takes place at the Katharine Cornell Theatre at 54 Spring Street in Vineyard Haven. It will include presentations from representatives of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE). A question and answer session with the audience follows.

BOEMRE, in partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, issued a Request for Interest (RFI) last December for commercial leasing for wind power on parcels on the outer continental shelf offshore of Massachusetts. The area includes about 3,000 square miles of federal waters and is about 12 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

EEA held a public information session about the RFI on Martha’s Vineyard in February for public officials, commercial and recreational fishermen, and local residents.

Vineyard Power, a community-owned energy cooperative based on Martha’s Vineyard, formed a partnership with offshore wind developer OffshoreMW and was one of 10 applicants that responded to the RFI by the April 15 deadline. Others included big developers such as Cape Wind, Neptune, and Bluewater.

At the time of the RFI, BOEMRE had not yet determined what the process would be from application to actual lease. Next week’s information session will include an update on the leasing process from BOEMRE, according to a press release from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.