The government will start auctioning large chunks of federal offshore lands off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket for wind farm development.
At 742,000 acres, the area to be sold off is the largest the government has ever dedicated to offshore wind, and nearly doubles the federal offshore acreage available for commercial-scale wind energy projects.
The turbines will be located 12 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, and 13 nautical miles southwest of Nantucket. Here’s the map:
Massachusetts residents living on the state’s shore have spent more than a decade opposing offshore wind development, despite the area’s massive potential. Despite the fact that the developments will be well beyond the shores of both islands, it will have taken four years to set this auction up:
According to Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers blogger Dave Levitan, the installations will be far enough away so as not to obstruct residents’ views. And he says the output potential here is huge:
So how big is [742,000 acres] when it comes to wind development? The London Array, currently the world’s biggest offshore wind farm at 630 megawatts (with the eventual goal of 1 gigawatt), sits on a [25,000-acre] area. That means if companies managed to develop all of the new area (not likely, of course), there is at least a potential to install enough turbines to generate 18,000 megawatts. That’s enough to power, say, Finland. Or Chile. Or Kazakhstan.
The actual date for the auction won’t be set until after the comment period ends in August.