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Feds OK New England floating offshore wind research

This graphic from the U.S. Department of Energy depicts elements of floating offshore wind energy production.
U.S. Department of Energy
This graphic from the U.S. Department of Energy depicts elements of floating offshore wind energy production.

A plan to research floating offshore wind technology in the Gulf of Maine is moving forward.

The federal government has offered an ocean lease to the state of Maine for the research.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said Tuesday that its environmental assessment is complete; the project will not require the longer review used for commercial wind development.

Future offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine, including off Cape Cod, is expected to require floating turbines.

Maine applied to the bureau in 2021 for permission to use an area about 32 miles southeast of Portland.

The state plans to install up to 12 turbines, with floating concrete platforms designed by the University of Maine.

Floating turbines can be used in places where the water is too deep for fixed foundations. They require a stable base and a means to tether the base to the sea floor.

In a statement, Maine Gov. Janet Mills said her administration looks forward to reviewing the research lease.

The state has 30 days to accept the terms or ask for modifications.

The research area off the coast of Maine is separate from eight much larger locations in the Gulf of Maine proposed for commercial offshore wind.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.